I wish I could describe the grief, devastation, and disbelief when I first heard the news. I didn’t want it to be real. I didn’t want to believe it. I didn’t want to think at all that this was true instead of a cruel joke. Then, slowly but surely, the tragic news was confirmed: retired American football player Demaryius Thomas had indeed lost his life. The heartbreak that I felt in the days afterwards were excruciating. It was so tragic, so unfair, so upsetting.
Demaryius deserves to be remembered for having a beautiful football career and an even more beautiful personality. Some of his career accomplishments include five Pro Bowl appearances and a Super Bowl championship. Super Bowl 50 was my absolute favorite Big Game in the history of the Big Game. I was so happy to see the team win.
Having spent nine of his ten playing seasons in Denver, Demaryius left a wonderful impact on the city. Remember the Wild Card game against the Pittsburgh Steelers following the 2011 National Football League season? Thanks to Demaryius’ 80-yard touchdown on a pass from Tim Tebow, the Broncos managed to win the game and advance further into the playoffs. That moment put a huge smile on my face. The cherry on top of the cake? He went to the Super Bowl twice!
Not only was Demaryius a wonderful player, but he was also a fantastic human. He and Peyton Manning were close. Peyton’s children were also close with Demaryius. They would always greet him at practice and Peyton described him as treating his kids like they were his own. That makes my heart happy. To me, that is a telltale sign that you have made a wonderful friend and that you’ve crossed paths with a fabulous human. I absolutely love that Demaryius made sure to be amazing on a constant basis.
In addition to scoring touchdowns on the field, Demaryius scored touchdowns in the community, too. He gave back to the Denver Broncos Boys and Girls Club in the Denver neighborhood of Montbello. Rich Barrows, director of the club, described Demaryius as a kind person who gave from the heart. In addition, he was an ambassador for A Precious Child. He ran football camps for the organization. His kindness, willingness to give back, and charitable work are things I will always remember him by.
People are finding ways to keep Demaryius’ memory alive. Denver Broncos-turned-Buffalo Bills player Emmanuel Sanders made a major donation to the Boys and Girls Club of Buffalo in the form of a football field honoring his teammate’s legacy. Denver Broncos-turned-Los Angeles Rams player Von Miller honored Demaryius during the most recent Big Game. In addition, the Broncos have begun awarding a new team award: the Demaryius Thomas Team MVP. The Team MVP is awarded to the player who exhibits positive impacts on the field and in the community, the way that Demaryius did. The most recent winner is Justin Simmons. This is a wonderful award, at least from my perspective. It will honor Demaryius and keep his memory alive amongst the team.
Rest in power, Demaryius. You are loved and missed very dearly. Your memory is being kept alive and we will always remember the fantastic mark you have left on the community.