Gutted. Heartbroken. Disbelief. Sadness. Devastated.
Those are just some of the words used to describe the sudden death of former Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas. In the middle of the Dec. 9 Thursday Night Football game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Minnesota Vikings, reports came out that Thomas had died at age 33 at his home in Georgia.
Reactions immediately came pouring out across the sports world, including from former teammates Peyton Manning and Tim Tebow.
Peyton Manning reacts to the death of Demaryius Thomas
After the reports of Thomas’ death were verified, the Broncos released a touching statement. Caring, generous, humility, warmth, and kindness were some of the words the team used to describe Thomas — and they ring true based on other messages from peers who had an opportunity to spend time with him.
Former Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning delivered a touching statement as the world continues to mourn (h/t Broncos CCO Patrick Smyth):
“D.T. was a better person than he was a player, and he was a Hall of Fame player. That tells you how good of a person he was. He treated my kids like they were his own. He was there for every teammate’s charity event. I texted with D.T. on Tuesday. He was talking about a TD audible we called vs. Arizona in 2014. Absolutely devasted.”Peyton Manning on the loss of Demaryius Thomas
Manning and Thomas spent time together in Denver, where the former rounded out his legendary NFL career. Thomas was also the recipient of Manning’s record-setting touchdown pass in 2015.
Tim Tebow shares his feelings on the death of Thomas, who recorded one of the greatest plays in Broncos history
Tim Tebow and Demaryius Thomas.
When you see those two names together, one play immediately comes to mind: the Broncos topping the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2012 Wild Card Round.
Tebow threw a dart to Thomas, who outran the Steelers secondary to send Mile High City into a frenzy and give the Broncos the victory on the first play of overtime.
Tebow and Thomas will forever live in Broncos history, and the former quarterback posted a heartfelt message on Twitter after seeing the news.
Kindness, smile, and love were three words Tebow used to describe Thomas in what has been a common theme regarding the former Broncos wide receiver. Thomas also spent a lot of time in the community helping kids and apparently enjoyed every second of that part of NFL stardom.
In June 2021, the 10-year NFL veteran and four-time Pro Bowler announced his retirement from the league, finishing with the second-most yards in Broncos history behind Rod Smith. Thomas also finished third in catches in franchise history behind Smith and Shannon Sharpe.
Tom Brady posts a tribute to the Pro Bowl wideout, who also spent a short time with the Patriots
Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady also paid his respect to Thomas after hearing the news.
Brady and Thomas spent a short time together on the New England Patriots in the 2019 preseason before Thomas went to the New York Jets in what would end up being his final season in the NFL.
Nonetheless, the quarterback and wide receiver developed a special bond as the latter left a mark on many within the organization.
Julian Edelman and Kyle Van Noy also posted messages to pay tribute to Thomas in what has been a surreal turn of events for all who knew him, watched him, or spent time with him at any point in his NFL career. Many more reactions will surely continue to come out.
Thoughts and prayers go out to Thomas’ family, his friends, and all who had an opportunity to be around him.
Stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference