ENGLEWOOD, Colorado – Demaryius Thomas announced his retirement from the NFL for the four-time Pro Bowl selection in a typically low-key manner on Monday.
Quietly off the field, eager to be successful, Thomas – known as “DT” to most of the Denver Broncos – simply sat down for a short video and opened with:
“I’m Demaryius Thomas. I finally made the decision to give it up … I’m retiring and I’m going to retire a Denver Bronco … I’m done and I did well.”
“I’m Demaryius Thomas, and I finally made up my mind to give it up. I’m going to retire, and I’m going to retire a Denver Bronco.” pic.twitter.com/Q6nNrxc59B
– Denver Broncos (@Broncos) June 28, 2021
Thomas, 33, will be honored by the Broncos in their home opener on September 26 against the New York Jets, the team he ended his career with in 2019.
Thomas was the first of two first-round picks for the Broncos in the 2010 NFL Draft – Tim Tebow was the other – and spent nine seasons with the Broncos, ending his career as the team’s runner-up receiver (9,055 yards). behind just Rod Smith. He is third in franchise history by the Catches (655) behind Smith and Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe.
He played a total of 10 seasons, finishing with 724 catches for 9,763 yards with 63 touchdowns.
“DT was the all-in-one wide receiver that has become one of the best in the role,” said John Elway, president of Broncos Football Operations, in a statement announcing the news. “The combination of his size, speed, strength and sportiness was unsurpassed. The remarkable consistency and performance of Demaryius were instrumental in our offensive setting historic records and our team winning many games, including two AFC championships and Super Bowl 50. ”
Thomas had a foot injury in his first two seasons in the NFL – he was injured prior to the 2010 draft – but flourished well and with the arrival of Peyton Manning in 2012 to at least 90 receptions and 1,300 yards in four consecutive seasons, along with the Hall of Famers Marvin Harrison and Jerry Rice and the Rams legend Torry Holt as the only players who reached these sums in four consecutive seasons.
The Broncos’ record season in 2013 – Manning set NFL records for passing yards (5,477) and touchdowns (55) when the Broncos hit a league record of 606 points that year – Thomas finished the best of his career with 14 touchdowns. He finished the following season with a career best at 1,619 yards.
Thomas routinely said that Manning revealed parts of the game that enabled Thomas to improve his game. Manning had called Thomas one of the best receivers he’d played with in his career. When Manning’s children came to practice, Thomas was regularly the first player they ran to because the players had become close friends.
Thomas caught Manning’s 509th career touchdown pass, which set Manning the career record at the time. A picture of Manning and Thomas posing with a handwritten sign after the game was displayed in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
For many of the team’s devotees, Thomas’ signature game is the 80-yard catch-and-run touchdown after a brief pass from Tebow in the first game of overtime that gave the Broncos a win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC wilderness gift card game after the 2011 season.
“Because Demaryius was so humble and quiet during his nine years with our organization, you would never have thought that he would be such a dominant player in our league,” said Bronco’s CEO Joe Ellis. “DT was an integral part of one of the greatest crimes of all time, which set record numbers and left Broncos fans with so many unforgettable memories. I’ve never heard Empower Field louder at Mile High than his winning touchdown in extra time against the Steelers in the playoffs. ”
Thomas’ teammates, coaches, and friends have often pointed out everything he had to overcome to make it to Georgia Tech first and then the NFL. His mother, Katina Smith, was jailed for drug offenses when Thomas was 11 years old. With his father in the military, Thomas began to work before school and collected corn, peas and butter beans for the farmers to earn a living.
His mother’s sentence was commuted by President Barack Obama in 2015, and Smith saw her son play soccer for the first time in person in the Broncos’ playoff win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in January 2016.
Manning, kneeling at the last game of the game, gave Thomas the soccer ball from that game to give to Thomas’ mother.