Chiefs legend Emmitt Thomas retiring from coaching

A football legend is calling it quits after 51 years in and around the National Football League.

Pro Football Hall of Famer Emmitt Thomas informed the Kansas City Chiefs on Tuesday that he is retiring from coaching. Thomas had been Kansas City's defensive backs coach since 2010.

"I have been blessed and honored to be a part of the NFL for the last 51 years," Thomas said in a statement released by the team. "My journey started in Kansas City, and by the grace of God I am able to end my NFL career here as well. I would like to thank the Hunt family and the Chiefs organization for all that they have done for me in my special days here in Kansas City. It has been a privilege to work alongside the great coaches that have come through this building. Having the opportunity to coach so many talented young men in my time as a coach has been one of my greatest gifts."

"On behalf of my family and the entire Chiefs organization, I want to congratulate Emmitt on his remarkable 51 years in the National Football League," Chiefs chairman and CEO Clark Hunt added. "Over the course of a career that spans two leagues and most of the modern era of the NFL, Emmitt was a Hall of Fame player and one of the most respected coaches in the league. Emmitt will always be a part of our Chiefs family, and we wish him the best in retirement."

Thomas spent all 13 years of his playing career with Kansas City. Signed as an undrafted free agent in 1966, the cornerback finished his time with the Chiefs with a franchise-record 58 interceptions and two Super Bowl appearances, including Kansas City's victory in Super Bowl IV. Thomas was named to the Pro Bowl or the AFL All-Star Game on five occasions and was a first-team All-Pro selection in 1974 when he led the NFL with 12 INTs.

In 2008, Thomas was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a player.

As a coach, Thomas was the wide receivers and defensive backs coach for the Redskins from 1986 to 1994, the defensive coordinator for the Eagles, Packers and Vikings from 1995 to 2001; and an assistant head coach and interim coach for the Falcons from 2002 to 2009.

Thomas is the second veteran defensive coach to leave the Chiefs organization since the end of the season. Defensive coordinator Bob Sutton was replaced by Steve Spagnuolo.