Longtime Bronco and Super Bowl Champ Demaryius Thomas Dies at 33

Thomas finished his NFL career with 724 receptions for 9,763 yards and 63 touchdowns in 10 seasons

Demaryius Thomas of the Denver Broncos after defeating the Seattle Seahawks 27-24 in 2018
Demaryius Thomas of the Denver Broncos after defeating the Seattle Seahawks 27-24 in 2018.
Aaron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Demaryius Thomas, who went to five straight Pro Bowls and won a Super Bowl ring as a wide receiver for the Denver Broncos, has died at the age of 33.

A 2010 first-round selection by Denver out of Georgia Tech, Thomas was found dead in the shower in his suburban Atlanta home Thursday night from what the Roswell Police Department is calling “a medical issue.”

His first cousin LaTonya Bonseigneur told The Associated Press the family believes he died from a seizure. “He had been suffering from seizures for over a year, and we believe he had a seizure when he was showering. We’re not sure when he died. We just spoke with him yesterday. He was alone and a friend couldn’t get hold of him, so he called his driver, who has a key because of these seizures, and he went into his home and found him in the shower.”

After spending nearly a decade with the Broncos, Thomas had stints with the Texans, Patriots and Jets before officially retiring from football in June of 2021. Thomas finished his NFL career with 724 receptions for 9,763 yards and 63 touchdowns in 10 seasons.

“We are devastated and completely heartbroken by the sudden and tragic passing of Demaryius Thomas,” the Broncos said in a statement. “D.T. was beloved by our entire organization, his teammates and coaches, and our fans. Recently retiring as a Bronco, we were very much looking forward to celebrating Demaryius for years to come as one of the greatest players in franchise history. During nine seasons in Denver, Demaryius established himself as a dominant, record-setting wide receiver who was an instrumental part of two championship runs and our victory in Super Bowl 50. His legacy as a Bronco extended far beyond the playing field as a caring, generous member of our community.”

Thomas, who had 94 catches for 1,434 yards with 10 touchdowns in 2012 with Peyton Manning throwing him the football, was known for what he could do on the field, but his off-field story also resonated with many. He was 11 when he saw his mother Katina Smith and grandmother Minnie Pearl Thomas arrested on drug charges. His grandmother wound up receiving a life sentence and his mother was sentenced to 20 years in prison after refusing a lesser term in exchange for testifying against her mom. Both women were eventually freed by President Barack Obama under an initiative to reduce the number of non-violent drug offenders doing time.

“[I was] blindsided today,” Thomas said after his grandmother was one of 214 non-violent drug offenders who had their sentences commuted by President Obama in 2016. “I just knew it was coming out before he got out of the White House. I still remember talking to him and telling me what I had to do to get them situated. This was a blindside shot, but I’m happy. I’m excited. The past two years, I got my grandmother and my mother out. And a lot of other people got their family members out that didn’t do crazy crimes, so it’s a blessing.”

Thomas is survived by members of his immediate family, but was not married and had no children, according to Bonseigneur.

“Demaryius was a great guy,” she said. “He came from humble beginnings. He knew God. He was raised in the church and by a close-knit family. Even though he rose to stardom, to us he was just a kid from Montrose. We never fathomed he would go on to do all these amazing things. He was just a kid who loved playing football.”

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