Rest in Peace, Demaryius: Remembering a Broncos Legend

The news rapidly spread on Twitter on Thursday night and rocked the NFL community that Demaryius Thomas, one of the best Denver Broncos of all time, had passed away at the age of just 33 years old.

After a massively productive junior season at Georgia Tech, where he finished with 46 catches for 1,154 yards and eight touchdowns, the Broncos selected Thomas with their first-round pick in 2010. From the day he was drafted, it was clear he was going to be special, and Thomas provided Broncos fans with some incredibly memorable moments.

Tim Tebow, who was drafted just three picks after Thomas, delivered a strike to his draft-mate in overtime of a Wild Card round matchup with the Steelers in 2011 that Thomas took 80 yards to the house. The walk-off touchdown play has been etched into the memories of Broncos fans everywhere and is one of the best moments in NFL Playoff history. Denver lost to the Patriots in the next round, but it was an epic moment nonetheless.

In the offseason following that incredible playoff touchdown, the Broncos made headlines when they brought in an eventual Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning. The introduction of the elite passer unlocked Thomas as one of the best talents in the NFL at the wide receiver position. Thomas immediately started an incredible stretch of five seasons with over 1,000 yards and 46 total touchdowns over that span.

Manning won the NFL’s MVP award in 2013, and Thomas was a huge part of the quarterback’s success. Thomas finished with 92 receptions for 1,430 yards and 14 touchdowns in that season and added another 28 catches for 306 yards and three touchdowns during the playoffs. The Broncos lost in the Super Bowl that year in embarrassing fashion by a final score of 43-8, but that game laid the groundwork for the team’s championship push two years later.

While Thomas and Manning were no longer at the peak of their powers in the 2015 season, Thomas was a veteran leader on the Denver Broncos’ third Super Bowl Championship. Personally, it was one of the most exhilarating moments of my sports fandom, and Thomas had reached the pinnacle of sports accomplishment.

After that, Thomas bounced around the league for a couple of years, spending time with the Houston Texans and New York Jets, but he was never the same after the second torn Achilles of his career. Thomas eventually retired after his ten-year NFL career at 33 years old. His peak didn’t last long, but there’s no question that Thomas was one of the very best offensive players in the NFL at his best.

Demaryius Thomas finished his career with 724 receptions for 9,763 yards and 63 touchdowns. He made the Pro Bowl five times, won two AFC Championships, and won one Super Bowl. He was also on the receiving end of Peyton Manning’s record-breaking 509th touchdown pass in 2014, an extraordinary moment for NFL historians and Denver fans.

Broncos fans remember Thomas as a legendary player and a contributor to some of the best teams in franchise history. Teammates remember him as a great friend. Members of the Denver community remember him as a charitable, spirited supporter of those in need.

A community of current and former players showed an outpouring of love and support on social media for Demaryius Thomas after he passed away. It was an incredible reminder of the power of the sports community and a clear indication of the love that those who were close to Thomas had for the wide receiver.

Rest in peace, Demaryius.

I've been a huge sports fan for as long as I can remember and I've always loved writing. In 2020, I joined the Lineups team, and I've been producing written and video content on football and basketball ever since. In May 2021, I graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in sport management. My goal is to tell enthralling stories and provide meaningful insight on the sports I write about while helping you cash some bets along the way.

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