Thomas with the Denver Broncos
|No. 88 – Denver Broncos|
|Date of birth:||December 25, 1987|
|Place of birth:||Montrose, Georgia|
|Height:||6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)|
|Weight:||229 lb (104 kg)|
|High school:||Dexter (GA) West Laurens|
|NFL Draft:||2010 / Round: 1 / Pick: 22|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics as of Week 2, 2017|
Demaryius Antwon Thomas (born December 25, 1987) is an American football wide receiver for the Denver Broncos of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech). Thomas was drafted by the Broncos in the first round of the 2010 NFL Draft.
High school career
Thomas attended West Laurens High School in Dexter, Georgia, where he was a three-sport star in basketball, football, and track. He played as a wide receiver for the Raiders football team. He played for legendary coach Andrew Slome. As a junior in 2004, he recorded 32 receptions for 330 yards and three touchdowns. Thomas was named an all-region and all-Heart of Georgia player. The following season, he recorded 82 receptions for 1,234 yards and ten touchdowns. After the game, he participated in the North-South All-Star game. Thomas was again selected as an all-region and all-Heart of Georgia, and the Atlanta Journal Constitution named him to its Class AA all-state first team and PrepStar to its All-Region team. Scout.com assessed him as the 22nd-ranked college prospect in the state of Georgia, and Rivals.com rated him the 34th-ranked such prospect. He received scholarship offers from Duke, Georgia, and Georgia Tech.
In addition to playing football, Thomas competed in track & field at West Laurens. He earned a fourth-place finish in the triple jump event at the 2006 Georgia Olympics after clearing a personal-best mark of 13.92 meters (45-4). As a sprinter, he posted a personal-best time of 10.99 seconds in the 100-meter dash and was a member of the 4 × 100 m relay squad.
Thomas chose to attend the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) where he majored in management. Thomas sat out the 2006 season as a redshirt freshman. In 2007, he saw action in all 13 games including 10 starts, and recorded 35 receptions for 558 yards, which ranked second on the team. In the 2007 Humanitarian Bowl, he made four receptions for 69 yards and a touchdown. The Sporting News named Thomas to its freshman All-Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) first team and a freshman All-America honorable mention.
In 2008, Paul Johnson was hired as the head coach and implemented the run-heavy triple option offense. Thomas considered transferring but decided against doing so. During the season, he recorded 39 receptions for 627 yards and three touchdowns as the leading receiver. Despite playing in a heavily run-oriented system, as one of the team's few experienced players, Thomas recorded relatively high numbers for the Yellow Jackets.
Still, compared with other receivers in the Atlantic Coast Conference Thomas's statistics were much smaller. He said, "Sometimes I think about [not getting many passes], but most of the time I just want to win." Thomas's mark was the best of any wide receiver from the school since Calvin Johnson in 2006. Against Duke, he caught nine receptions for 230 yards, the second-most in a single game in school history.
In 2009, during his redshirt junior year at Georgia Tech, Thomas had a breakout season with 46 receptions for 1,154 yards and 8 touchdowns. This earned him 1st team All-ACC honors. He finished his career at Georgia Tech with 120 catches for 2,339 yards and 14 touchdowns.
Many draft experts had him gaining momentum with NFL scouts going into the last couple weeks leading up to the draft and most had him as the number one or two-rated wide receiver along with Dez Bryant in the 2010 NFL Draft, including Sporting News. On January 8, 2010, he declared for the 2010 NFL Draft.
Thomas broke his foot and was unable to participate in combine drills. He scored second highest among wide receivers with 34 on the Wonderlic test, second only to friend, fellow wide receiver, and future teammate Eric Decker, who had the highest score in the Combine with 43.
Thomas was drafted by the Denver Broncos in the first round with the 22nd overall selection in the 2010 NFL Draft. On July 31, 2010, the Broncos signed him to a five-year, $12.155 million contract with $9.35 million guaranteed.
Thomas had eight receptions for 97 yards and scored one touchdown in his NFL debut against the Seattle Seahawks. He was just the 9th player since 1970 to record at least eight catches in his first game. This was also the second most catches by a rookie in franchise history. The highlight of Thomas's season came when he beat All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis for a touchdown when the Broncos hosted the New York Jets on 17 October 2010.
Thomas was plagued by injuries during his rookie season. He first missed playing time due to a forearm injury and a concussion; an ankle injury also rendered him inactive for five more games late in the season.
Thomas ended his rookie season having played in 10 games, with 22 receptions for 283 yards and 2 touchdowns.
On February 10, 2011, it was announced that Thomas had torn his achilles tendon while working out and was expected to miss a majority, if not the entirety, of the 2011 season. However, he was surprisingly activated from the Physically Unable to Perform List prior to the start of the season - Broncos general manager Brian Xanders said that Demaryius had responded to rehab well and was "ready to go." Unfortunately, during his very first practice back, Thomas broke his left pinkie finger and missed the first 5 games of the season.
Thomas made his season debut on October 23, 2011 against the Miami Dolphins. He linked up with quarterback Tim Tebow for the Broncos' first score of the game, which Denver would go on to win in overtime. Despite this early promise, he only had 4 receptions in the next 5 games as the Broncos moved towards a run-heavy option offense.
Thomas broke out in a game against the Minnesota Vikings on December 4, 2011, recording 144 yards and 2 touchdowns on just 4 receptions. He would end the season strongly, emerging as Tebow's favorite receiver and setting a franchise record by leading the Broncos in both receiving and targets over the final 7 games.
However, it was during the first round of the playoffs that Thomas truly made his presence felt. On January 8, 2012 Thomas caught the game-winning, 80-yard touchdown pass from Tebow on the opening play of overtime to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Wild Card game, 29-23. This was the first non-sudden death playoff game in NFL history  but Denver's touchdown score ended the game.
The entire play took 10 seconds, and is the fastest ending to an overtime in NFL history to date. It is also the longest playoff overtime touchdown in NFL history. Thomas ended with a stat-line of 4 receptions, 204 yards and 1 touchdown in his playoff debut. It marked the most receiving yards by a Bronco in playoff history and the 2nd-highest receiving average (51.0) in a single game in NFL annals. Thomas had six receptions for 93 yards the following week in a divisional round loss to the New England Patriots.
Thomas ended the 2011 regular season with 32 receptions for 551 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Thomas was coming off surgery to remove pins in his left pinkie when quarterback Peyton Manning signed with the Broncos during the 2012 off season. This meant that, unlike fellow receiver Eric Decker, he was unable to participate in workouts with Manning. Thomas, however, made an effort to improve his route-running and quickly caught up. Manning noted during training camp that Thomas's "size, strength and speed just allow you to do certain things with him that other players just can't do."
Despite reports describing the connection between Thomas and Manning as "balky", Thomas found success again in the Broncos' very first game of the season against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Down 13 to 7, Thomas, in a move reminiscent of his game-winning touchdown in the playoffs, burned the Steelers with a 71-yard catch-and-run. The touchdown was notable because it was the first touchdown Manning had thrown in the NFL for a team other than the Indianapolis Colts, and it was also the 400th of Manning's career, making Peyton just the 3rd player in NFL history to reach that milestone.
Thomas set regular-season career highs in both catches (9) and yards (180) at New England on October 7, 2012. He tied his career high in catches in games against the Carolina Panthers and the Cleveland Browns. Demaryius registered 3 catches for 37 yards and 1 touchdown in the Broncos' Divisional Round loss to the Baltimore Ravens in the playoffs.
Thomas would go on to have a breakout year in 2012, recording 94 receptions for 1,434 yards and 10 touchdowns. He led the team in targets, receptions and yards, and ranked 8th in the league in receptions, 4th in yards, and 7th in touchdowns. He was selected to his first Pro Bowl in the 2012 season after receiver Wes Welker withdrew due to injury.
Starting the season strong, Thomas had five catches for 161 yards and two touchdowns in Week 1 win over Baltimore Ravens. As he had done in Week 1 of the 2012 season, Thomas took a screen pass for a 78-yard touchdown. This was quarterback Peyton Manning's 7th touchdown pass of the game, which tied him with five other quarterbacks for the most in a single game in NFL history.
Thomas received AFC Offensive Player of the Week honours for the first time in his career in the Broncos' Week 10 win over the San Diego Chargers. He posted 7 receptions, 108 yards, and 3 touchdowns.
Thomas made other contributions to the Broncos' historic season on offense. He caught Manning's 55th touchdown, which set an NFL record for the most touchdowns thrown by a quarterback in a single season. Manning also broke the single season passing yardage mark on that same pass to Thomas. His 633 yards after catch was 2nd in the entire league. Manning, who said that Thomas "got great speed and power and it's fun to watch once he gets it in his hands", attributed part of Thomas' success to "all the runs he had to practice at Georgia Tech".
Recording 92 catches for 1,430 yards and 14 touchdowns during the 2013 regular season, Thomas ranked 9th in the league for receptions, 4th in yards and 2nd in touchdowns. His 14 touchdowns paced all wideouts in the NFL. Thomas led the team in targets, receptions and yards for the second consecutive year. He also led the team in receiving touchdowns.
Thomas averaged 9.33 receptions and 102 yards per game during the 2013-2014 playoffs, including the Super Bowl. He also scored a touchdown in every playoff game. Thomas set a then NFL record for most catches in a Super Bowl game by a player (James White broke the record in Super Bowl LI with 14 catches), despite reportedly playing most of the game with a separated shoulder. In Super Bowl XLVIII, Thomas had a then-Super Bowl record 13 receptions for 118 yards and a touchdown, but the Broncos lost 43-8 to the Seattle Seahawks.
On October 5, 2014, against the Arizona Cardinals, Thomas made eight receptions for 226 receiving yards, breaking the old franchise record for receiving yards in a single game held by Shannon Sharpe. On October 19, 2014, against the San Francisco 49ers, Thomas caught Peyton Manning's all-time record-breaking 509th touchdown pass.
On Sunday, November 16, 2014, Thomas caught ten passes for 103 yards, extending his own franchise record for consecutive 100 yard games to seven. Thomas finished second only to Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown in receiving yards for the 2014 season, with a career-high 1,619 yards off a career-high 111 catches.
On March 3, 2015, the Denver Broncos placed the franchise tag ($12.823 million) on Thomas. Reports indicated that the tag is non-exclusive, which means that Thomas can negotiate with other teams, and the Broncos have the right to match any offer, or receive two first-round picks as compensation.
ESPN's Jeff Legwold reported Thomas said he views himself as one of the elite receivers in the NFL and "I hope the Broncos agree." "Thomas has also said if no long-term deal could be worked out, he would eventually sign his franchise tender and play the 2015 season 'to help us win the Super Bowl,'" Legwold continued. On June 9, Mike Klis of the Denver Post reported Thomas wouldn't attend mandatory minicamp, and noted the holdout could extend into training camp. However, on June 9, Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak said he was "confident" a deal would get done before that point, according to Legwold.
On July 15, 2015, Thomas signed a 5-year, $70 million contract extension with the Broncos, just hours before the deadline for franchise players. The deal was similar in structure to Dez Bryant's contract extension with the Dallas Cowboys. Bryant was also franchise tagged and signed just hours before Thomas. He was also drafted just two picks after Thomas, going 24th overall in the 2010 NFL Draft. Between Peyton Manning struggling with a plantar fasciitis injury and Brock Osweiler never having a career start before this season, Thomas's production dropped, but he still had 105 receptions, six touchdowns, and 1,304 yards. The Broncos finished the season 12-4 and earned the #1 seed for the AFC playoffs. Thomas was also named to the 2016 Pro Bowl but did not attend because of his team's playoff finish, but was still awarded a Pro Bowl berth retroactively. The Broncos defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Divisional Round and the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship to make it to Super Bowl 50, where they defeated the Carolina Panthers by a score of 24–10 to give Thomas his first Super Bowl title. Thomas had one catch for eight yards in the Super Bowl. He was ranked 62nd by his fellow players on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2016.
Going into the 2016 season, Thomas lost both Manning, to retirement, and Brock Osweiler, to the Houston Texans. Before the 2016 started, Trevor Siemian was named the starter for Thomas and the Broncos. After his fifth consecutive 1,000-yard season and despite quarterback issues on his team, Thomas was selected to the 2017 Pro Bowl. Although Thomas eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark, his total of 1,083 yards was his fewest in a season since 2011.
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As of 2017[update]'s NFL off-season, Demaryius Thomas held at least 16 Broncos franchise records, including:
- Receptions: playoffs (53), playoff season (28 in 2013), playoff game (13 on 2014-02-02 NSEA)
- Receiving Yds: season (1,619 in 2014), game (226 on 2014-10-05 ARI), playoff season (306 in 2013)
- Receiving TDs: season (14 in 2013), playoffs (6), playoff season (3 in 2013)
- Rec Yds/Game: career (76.3), playoffs (75.9)
- 100+ yard receiving games: career (34), season (10 in 2014), playoffs (3; with Vance Johnson)
Thomas was born to Bobby Thomas and Katina Smith in Montrose, Georgia, on Christmas Day, 1987. When Thomas was a child, police raided the house where his mother and grandmother lived. His mother and grandmother were arrested and sentenced to 20 years in prison and life in prison respectively for crack distribution. By all accounts a shy and introverted child, Thomas grew up with his aunt and uncle after his mother was sent to prison. As a child, he was given the nickname "Bay Bay" by his uncle in reference to the bad kids from the movie Bebe's Kids. On July 13, 2015, President Barack Obama commuted the sentence of his mother, Katina Smith. She was released at midnight on November 11–12, 2015, and saw her son play football for the first time on January 17, 2016. On August 2, 2016, Obama commuted the sentence of his grandmother, Minnie Pearl Thomas.
Thomas is an Evangelical Christian. Thomas frequently posts about his faith on his Twitter account. Thomas has a tattoo of a portrait of Jesus with the phrase "Jesus Saves" under the portrait on his left arm.
In 2010, a woman contacted Denver police suspecting she was drugged and raped after being at a party that Thomas attended, in the company of his Broncos teammate Perrish Cox. A DNA test later proved she was pregnant with Cox's child. Thomas was a prosecution witness and testified that Cox spoke to him before the act, saying that he was going to sleep with the girl and that she had consented beforehand and even offered for Thomas to sleep with her instead. However, Thomas said no, that he would have no part of it, that Cox was drunk and that he was messed up; Thomas left the party immediately after the conversation. Later when asked about the conversation, Thomas said that based on Cox's erratic behavior and speech he didn't fully believe Cox was serious, thinking that Cox was having some kind of drunken delusion. Although Cox was eventually acquitted, the woman filed a civil suit against both Thomas and Cox, suing them, inter alia, for battery, conspiracy and negligence. The claims against Thomas have since been dismissed.
- Jhabvala, Nick (January 23, 2017). "Demaryius Thomas named to 5th career Pro Bowl; gives Broncos 6 players in all-star game". The Denver Post. Retrieved June 26, 2017.
The Pro Bowl is the fifth in the career of Thomas, who, along with safety T.J. Ward, was retroactivey credited by the NFL for a selection last year after they were passed up as alternates because of the Broncos' Super Bowl run.
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