Demaryius Thomas remembers players for his generous nature
ENGLEWOOD, Colorado (AP) – The post from Demaryius Thomas was just to congratulate Garett Bolles on his writing.
It meant so much to the Denver Broncos left tackle that, even years later, he still has the exchange stored on his phone.
Thomas was always thinking of others.
The five-time Pro Bowl receiver has found the time to make a difference, whether it’s working with a young wide player, signing autographs, attending a football clinic or hosting a teammate. The football community has been devastated by the loss of Thomas, who died Thursday night in his suburban Atlanta home at the age of 33 – nearly six months after officially announcing his retirement from the NFL.
To pay tribute to him, the Broncos players will wear a decal on their helmets on Sunday against Detroit. There will also be a video tribute to the stadium and a minute of silence for the charismatic receiver.
âHis smile lit up a room every time he walked in,â said Bolles, who was drafted in 2017 and warmly greeted by Thomas. âEvery time we spoke to him he was always happy. I don’t think I heard a single negative thing from his mouth or anything.
Thomas was that rare, humble player in a position that tends to attract the brash. He quietly went about his business of grabbing passes and making friends.
He had a lot of both.
Broncos kicker Brandon McManus posted pictures of the two together on social media with the caption: “That’s who my friend was. Always smiling. I love you DT #RIP Broken Heart.
Several players remain on the Broncos’ roster who had ties to him since he was in Denver for his final season in 2018, including wide receivers Tim Patrick and Courtland Sutton. There are also a few coaches and around 40 workers within the organization. Although Broncos coach Vic Fangio never spent time with Thomas, he felt like he had made it through all the stories.
âJust seeing and feeling their reaction and their pain just tells me what a special DT player was,â said Fangio.
The Broncos (6-6) plan to honor him in the best way they know on Sunday – through their performance.
âWe have to put ’88’ in our hearts and I hope he gives us that juice, he gives us that desire to go to the playoffs,â Bolles said. “I feel like this is what we need to do for him.”
Thomas’s contributions to Denver have gone far beyond the football field. He was known for his work with the Broncos Boys and Girls Club, as well as his hospital visits and his annual football camp.
Social media was filled with tributes to Thomas, who was found dead at his home in Roswell, Georgia. LaTonya Bonseigneur, a cousin who grew up with Thomas, told The Associated Press the family believe he died of a seizure.
“â¦ Honored to have known you brutha.” RIP! âBroncos Hall of Fame running back Terrell Davis posted on Twitter.
Thomas grew up in the small town of Montrose in southeast Georgia, where he reached great heights after a troubled childhood in which his mother and grandmother were sent to prison for selling Drugs. Thomas frequented Georgia Tech, where he stood out even in a race-focused attack.
The Broncos and then-coach Josh McDaniels picked Thomas No. 22 in the 2010 draft. It was over Dez Bryant, who went No. 24 in Dallas. A later pick, Denver took on quarterback Tim Tebow.
Tebow and Thomas then teamed up for one of the most memorable passes in Broncos lore. In the first overtime of an AFC playoff game, Thomas broke free in the middle, caught a pass from Tebow and sprinted for an 80-yard touchdown to beat Pittsburgh.
On social media, Tebow wrote: ââ¦ I will be remembered for his kindness, his smile that would light up a room and the love he had for those in his life.
Thomas also teamed up with Peyton Manning, the successful partnership that began in 2012 when he made 94 catches for 1,434 yards and 10 touchdowns. Thomas made his first of five consecutive Pro Bowl selections.
In Manning’s final year, the Broncos beat Carolina 24-10 in the Super Bowl to cap the 2015 season. Thomas only had one catch for 8 yards as Denver relied mostly on defense. and his racing game to win the title.
âDT was a better person than he was a player, and he was a Hall of Fame player. That tells you how good he was,â Manning posted on Twitter via the Broncos. âHe dealt with it. my children as if they were his own He was there for each teammate’s charity event.
Then there’s former Broncos tight end Jacob Tamme, who posted a video of his son doing a fake interview as he donned a football helmet.
âFirst of all, can you introduce yourself? he asked in the video.
“Demaryius Thomas,” replied his son.
AP Sports writer Paul Newberry and AP Pro Football writer Arnie Stapleton contributed to this story.
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