Sunday’s divisional round game was the first time in Thomas’s career that his mother, Katina Smith, was in the stands to watch him play a football game.
Smith was jailed for narcotics trafficking when Thomas was 11 years old, and was released in November as part of a group of 46 nonviolent drug offenders whose sentences were commuted by President Obama.
“It’s very special,” Thomas said, according to ESPN. “She came out, got to see us win a game, her first time here, her first time seeing me play. It felt great, a really special feeling.”
Thomas had four catches for 40 yards during the game, but the chance to honor his mother overshadowed his performance on the field.
“My mom is right outside that door,” he said to media members who were peppering him with questions after the game. “Y’all are killing me.”