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Gutted. Heartbroken. Disbelief. Sadness. Devastated.
These are just a few of the phrases used to characterize the tragic death of Demaryius Thomas, a former wide receiver for the Denver Broncos. Thomas died at his home in Georgia at the age of 33 during a Thursday Night Football game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Minnesota Vikings on Dec. 9.
Former teammates Peyton Manning and Tim Tebow were among the first to react, with Peyton Manning and Tim Tebow being among the first.
Peyton Manning responds to Demaryius Thomas’ death.
We are utterly sad and horrified.
Those who knew and loved Demaryius will remember him for his humility, warmth, friendliness, and contagious grin. pic.twitter.com/0GLZIr6UP3
10 December 2021 — Denver Broncos (@Broncos)
The Broncos issued a poignant statement after the death of Thomas was confirmed. Thomas was described as kind, giving, humble, warm, and kind by the team, and these adjectives ring true based on additional responses from peers who had the chance to spend time with him.
As the world continues to grieve, former Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning issued the following statement (h/t Broncos CCO Patrick Smyth):
“D.T. was a greater guy than he was a player, despite the fact that he was a Hall of Famer.” That demonstrates how terrific a guy he was. He cared for my children as if they were his own. Every teammate’s charitable event drew him in. On Tuesday, I texted with D.T. He was referring to a 2014 TD audible we called against Arizona. “I’m completely destroyed.”
On the loss of Demaryius Thomas, Peyton Manning said
Manning and Thomas were friends in Denver, where the former finished his illustrious NFL career. In 2015, Thomas also caught Manning’s record-breaking touchdown throw.
Tim Tebow expresses his condolences on the passing of Thomas, who made one of the most memorable plays in Broncos history.
I awoke to the news that my teammate and buddy, Demaryius Thomas, had passed away. Many people will remember him for his athletic prowess… But I’ll remember him for his generosity, his infectious grin, and the love he had for the people in his life. pic.twitter.com/gNVzmJ503X
December 10, 2021 — Tim Tebow (@TimTebow)
Demaryius Thomas with Tim Tebow.
When you hear those two names together, one play quickly springs to mind: the Broncos’ 2012 Wild Card Round victory against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
On the opening play of overtime, Tebow delivered a dart to Thomas, who outran the Steelers secondary to throw Mile High City into a frenzy and give the Broncos the win.
Tebow and Thomas will go down in Broncos history, and after hearing the news, the former quarterback shared a poignant statement on Twitter.
In what has become a recurrent theme surrounding the former Broncos wide receiver, Tebow used three adjectives to characterize Thomas: kindness, grin, and love. Thomas also spent a lot of time in the neighborhood assisting children, and he seemed to love every minute of it.
The 10-year NFL veteran and four-time Pro Bowler announced his retirement from the game in June 2021, ranking second in Broncos history behind Rod Smith in total yards. Thomas was also third in the franchise’s all-time receptions list, behind Smith and Shannon Sharpe.
Tom Brady pays homage to the Pro Bowl wide receiver, who also played for the Patriots for a brief period.
Denver Broncos’ Demaryius Thomas | John Leyba/The Denver Post via Getty Images
After receiving the news, Tom Brady of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers offered his respects to Thomas.
Brady and Thomas played together briefly for the New England Patriots during the 2019 preseason before Thomas was traded to the New York Jets for his last season in the NFL.
Despite this, the quarterback and wide receiver had a particular connection, with the latter leaving an indelible impression on many in the company.
It was also clear that the Patriots’ players, particularly Tom Brady, rapidly warmed up to Demaryius Thomas that summer. During the 2019 preseason, here’s a video of Brady and Thomas fooling about on the sideline. pic.twitter.com/JFftdy1cP3
10 December 2021 — Doug Kyed (@DougKyed)
In what has been a bizarre turn of events for anyone who knew him, saw him, or spent time with him at any point during his NFL career, Julian Edelman and Kyle Van Noy also tweeted notes to pay respect to Thomas. There will undoubtedly be many more responses.
Thomas’ family, friends, and those who had the privilege to be around him are in our thoughts and prayers.
Pro Football Reference provided the statistics.
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Eli Manning, the former Pro Bowl receiver who suddenly died on Sunday, has been mourned by many of his NFL peers. Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Tim Tebow are among those mourning the loss of their former teammate. Reference: eli manning retirement.
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