The sports world woke up the shocking news: Demaryius Thomas, the former NFL player, and Super Bowl Champion, had been found dead inside his home. Here’s what we know.
Demaryius Thomas, a former wide receiver on the Super Bowl 50-winning Denver Broncos, was discovered dead in his Roswell, Georgia home on Thursday (Nov. 9) night, per ESPN. Local police said that preliminary reports indicated the 33-year-old former football player’s death might have resulted from a medical issue. “He had been suffering from seizures for over a year, and we believe he had a seizure when he was showering,” said LaTonya Bonseigneur — a first cousin who grew up with Thomas and was so close they considered themselves siblings – to the Associated Press.
“He was alone, and a friend couldn’t get hold of him, so he called his driver, who has a key because of these seizures, and he went into his home and found him in the shower,” added Bonseigneur. Following the news of Demaryius’s passing, the Denver Broncos issued a statement. “We are devastated and completely heartbroken by the sudden, tragic passing of Demaryius Thomas. D.T. was beloved by our entire organization, his teammates and coaches, and our fans. Recently retiring as a Bronco, we were very much looking forward to celebrating Demaryius for years to come as one of the greatest players in franchise history.”
As the football world mourns the loss of this talent, here’s what you need to know.
1. Demaryius Thomas Was A NFL Player.
Demaryius Antwon Thomas was born on Dec. 25, 1987. While growing up in Georgia, Demaryius discovered he had a talent at athletics, playing basketball, football, and track in high school. He soared in the wide receiver position and soon fielded scholarship offers from some of the top schools in the region. He ultimately attended George Tech and was part of the Yellow Jackets from 2006 (first as a redshirt freshman) until he declared himself eligible for the 2010 NFL Draft. Denver picked him as the 22nd overall pick in the first round, and he would play nine consecutive seasons for the Broncos.
2. He Had A Rough Childhood.
Both Demaryius’s mother and grandmother were arrested and sent to prison for selling drugs. Police raided his home when he was just 11, and his mother was allowed to walk Demaryius and his two younger sisters to the school bus before she was taken away. His mother, Katina Smith, was sentenced to 20 years in prison after refusing a lesser term in exchange for testifying against her mother, Minnie Pearl Thomas, according to the Associated Press. Minnie wound up receiving a life sentence. President Barack Obama freed both women under his initiative to reduce the number of non-violent drug offenders in jail.
3. He Was A Super Bowl Champion.
Super Bowl 50 will always hold a special place in the hearts of Denver Broncos fans. It’s the final game for legendary quarterback Peyton Manning. It saw Von Miller put on a defensive clinic, earning him the Super Bowl MVP. It also was the game where Demaryius Thomas etched his name in NFL history. Though he only had one catch during the game, he was part of the squad that defeated the Carolina Panthers, giving Demaryius his first and only Super Bowl title.
4. He Retired In June 2021.
Though Demaryius remained a strong presence as part of the Broncos’ offense, the team struggled to find a replacement for Peyton Manning. Ultimately, the team went into rebuilding mode and traded Demaryius to the Houston Texans in 2018 and a handful of draft pics. Demaryius suffered an injury during Week 16, and in February 2019, the Texans released him. After a back and forth with the New England Patriots, Demaryius wound up playing for the New York Jets in the 2019 season. After his one-year contract was up, he sat out the 2020 season, and in June 2021, he announced he was retiring – but as a Bronco.
“I’m Demaryius Thomas, and I’ve finally come to a decision to hang it up. I’m going to retire, and I’m going to retire a Denver Bronco.” pic.twitter.com/Q6nNrxc59B
— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) June 28, 2021
“I’m Demaryius Thomas. I finally came to a decision to hang it up … I’m going to retire, and I’m going to retire a Denver Bronco … I’m done, and I did well,” he said in a video posted to the Broncos social media. The team signed him so he could retire as part of the squad he spent most of his professional career with.
5. Demaryius Thomas Was Well Respected By His Peers.
“I’m so sad to wake up this morning to hear about the passing of my friend Demaryius Thomas,” Tom Brady wrote while sharing a picture of them together. “We were all blessed with his humility and positive spirit, and we will all miss him.”
“So many are going to remember him for his athletic ability,” wrote Tim Tebow, “but I’ll be remembering him for his kindness, his smile that would light up a room, and the love he had for those in his life.”