Demaryius Thomas, who played 10 NFL seasons and is considered one of the best wide receivers in Denver Broncos history, was found dead at his home in Roswell, Georgia, according to authorities. He was 33 years old.
According to preliminary information, his death was due to a medical problem, Roswell Police Department Agent Tim Lupo said in an email to Citizen Free Press.
“We are devastated and completely heartbroken,” the Broncos said in a statement. “Demaryius’s humility, warmth, kindness and infectious smile will always be remembered by those who knew and loved him.”
The NFL issued a statement saying: “The NFL family mourns the tragic loss of Demaryius Thomas and we extend our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones.”
Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning, who played four seasons with Thomas in Denver, said the wide receiver was a better person than a player.
“He treated my children as if they were his own,” he said in a statement released by the Broncos. “He was there for the all-teammate charity event. I texted DT on Tuesday. He was talking about an audible TD we did against Arizona in 2014. Absolutely devastated.”
Thomas won two AFC championships and a Super Bowl
He was born in Montrose, Georgia. After an outstanding college career at Georgia Tech, he was the first wide receiver selected in the 2010 NFL Draft, ranking 22nd in the first round with the Broncos.
Thomas spent most of his NFL career with Denver, winning two AFC championships and Super Bowl 50. He was a five-time Pro Bowl selection and is second all-time in Broncos history in yards per reception.
Thomas was traded to the Houston Texans during the 2018 season and then ended his career with the New York Jets. He announced his retirement from the NFL in June.
In 2015, President Barack Obama commuted the sentence of Thomas’s mother, Katrina Stuckey Smith, who was serving 15 years of a 20-year federal sentence for drug distribution. Obama later commuted the sentence of Thomas’s grandmother, Minnie Pearl Thomas, who was serving a life sentence for cocaine trafficking.
The two had been arrested together on drug charges when Thomas was just 11 years old, according to the official Denver Broncos website.
During the Super Bowl 50 celebration at the White House, Thomas passed the president a note thanking him for his mother’s release and also spoke to him about his grandmother, according to The Denver Post. Obama commuted the sentences of hundreds of nonviolent drug offenders during his tenure.
“I found out just when I came from lifting weights,” Thomas told The Denver Post. “I had no idea. I was surprised. I was also excited, it came very early. I heard that more than 200 people have a second chance, and that my grandmother is one of them, it is a blessing.”
Travis M. Andrews is a features writer for The Washington Post. He joined The Post in 2016 as a reporter for Morning Mix. He was previously a travel and culture editor for Southern Living magazine, a contributing pop culture reporter for Mashable and the Week, and a contributing editor for the Syfy blog Dvice. He also has freelanced for magazines, including Esquire, GQ and Time. He is the author of the coming book “Because He’s Jeff Goldblum,” a semi-rumination and semi-ridiculous look at the career of the enigmatic actor and an exploration of the shifting nature of fame in the 21st century, to be published in November by Plume.