The Denver Broncos on Sunday will honor its former star wide receiver, Demaryius Thomas, who died suddenly last week at age 33.
Thomas played 10 seasons in the NFL, most of them with the Broncos, and is considered one of the best wide receivers in Broncos history, winning two AFC championships and Super Bowl 50. He was selected to multiple Pro Bowls and is second all-time in Broncos history in receiving yards.
Broncos players will wear Thomas’ team number, 88, as a decal on their helmets during the game against the Detroit Lions in Denver on Sunday, according to Broncos writer Aric DiLalla. The number also has been painted on Denver’s sideline.
There will be a memorial to Thomas at the stadium, at the base of the horse sculptures in Ring of Fame Plaza. The team will also show a video tribute to Thomas and hold a moment of silence to remember the beloved athlete.
Thomas was found dead at his home in Roswell, Georgia, on Thursday. Based on preliminary information, his death stemmed from a medical issue, officer Tim Lupo of the Roswell Police Department said in an email to CNN.
“We are devastated and completely heartbroken,” the Broncos said in a statement. “Demaryius’ humility, warmth, kindness and infectious smile will always be remembered by those who knew him and loved him.”
The team has pinned a photo of Thomas to the top of its Twitter account. Dilalla quoted Broncos coach Vic Fangio as saying there are still 10 players on the team who played with Thomas, and more than 40 workers in the organization and among support staff who had been around him.
Tributes to Thomas have been pouring in from athletes around the country since his death.
Hall of Fame quarterback Peyton Manning, who played four seasons with Thomas in Denver, said the wide receiver was a better person than he was a player.
“He treated my kids like they were his own,” he said in a statement released by the Broncos. “He was there for every teammate’s charity event. I texted with D.T. on Tuesday. He was talking about a TD audible we called vs. Arizona in 2014. Absolutely devasted.”
Garett Bolles, a Broncos offensive tackle, remembered how Thomas welcomed him to the team.
“He was one of the first people to reach out to me when I got drafted, still have the message that he left on my phone,” Bolles said Friday. “I played it yesterday. I know if he was here today, one thing he’d tell me is ‘just keep working.’ That’s one thing he always did, he was always working, he was always the hardest worker.”
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