DENVER — Demaryius Thomas, the former West Laurens Raider who became one of the most talented receivers in Denver Broncos franchise history, has died at age 33, a family member told 13WMAZ sister station 9NEWS.
The circumstances of his death are unknown, but a cousin told the Associated Press the family believes he died as a result of a seizure.
Thomas played his high school ball at West Laurens High under John Kenny. He was a two-time All-Region selection and was named All-State by the Atlanta Journal Constitution his senior year after an 82 reception, 1,234 yard and 10 touchdown season.
Thomas committed to the Georgia Tech where he recorded 2,339 reception yards and 15 touchdowns in three seasons. Both are fourth all-time in Georgia Tech history.
From 2010, when the 6-foot-3, 225-pound Thomas was selected by then Broncos’ football boss Josh McDaniels in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft, until he was traded to Houston halfway through the 2018 season, Thomas compiled enough production to rank second in team history with 9,055 receiving yards and 60 touchdown catches while his 665 receptions ranked third.
Thomas played for the Broncos until he was traded to Houston halfway through the 2018 season. He announced his retirement from the NFL as a Denver Bronco in June.
Counting his 10 playoff games with the Broncos, Thomas finished his career with 777 catches for 10,522 yards and 69 touchdowns. Impressive considering he was a raw receiver from a Georgia Tech program that featured a run-oriented option offense during his three seasons there.
The 2011 season is also where Thomas began his string of 122 consecutive games played -- 132 including the postseason.
During the four-year period from 2012-15 when Peyton Manning was the Broncos’ quarterback, Thomas was unquestionably one of the NFL’s top three receivers. During that remarkable four-year span, he averaged 101 catches for 1,447 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Thomas played in two Super Bowls, setting a Super Bowl record with 13 catches in a 43-8 loss to Seattle in Super Bowl 48, then having just one catch in the Broncos’ Super Bowl 50 win against Carolina.
During the Super Bowl champion reception at the White House in June 2016, Thomas arranged to have a letter delivered to Barack Obama, asking the sitting president to pardon his grandmother from a lengthy prison sentence on drug charges. Two months later, Obama did indeed commute Minnie Pearl Thomas’ sentence. A year earlier, Obama had commuted the sentence of D.T.’s mom, Katina Smith.