Former Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas has announced his retirement on Monday. The news came via the Broncos' social media.
Per 9NEWS' Mike Klis, the Broncos will honor the 33-year-old Thomas in Week 3 during the team's home-opener on September 26 when the New York Jets come to town. Thomas will be an honorary team captain that day and will be honored with a video tribute at Empower Field at Mile High. A fitting punctuation to a glorious Broncos career.
Thomas' career spanned 10 NFL seasons, the bulk of which came with the Broncos. Drafted in the first round back in 2010, the player fondly known as 'DT' took a couple of years to percolate before blasting into the stratosphere when Peyton Manning signed with the Broncos in 2012.
From there, Thomas went on to produce at a high level, posting four consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons with Manning. As the No. 1 wideout in the most prolific offense in NFL history, Thomas led the way to the Broncos' all-time record of 606 points totaled in 2013, scoring a career-high 14 touchdowns that year.
In 2015, Thomas helped Denver win Super Bowl 50, after which, Manning retired. Thomas' play didn't dip as many expected it to. Playing opposite of Emmanuel Sanders, Thomas posted his fifth and final 1,000-yard campaign in 2016, catching passes mostly from Trevor Siemian.
Although DT came close to 1,000 in 2017 (949), he fell just short. In 2018, the Broncos drafted Courtland Sutton which led to Thomas getting traded to the Houston Texans in the middle of the season. It was an odd situation as the Broncos drew the Texans on the schedule the same week Thomas was dealt there.
Sporting the No. 87, Thomas donned the Texans jersey and hauled in three passes for 61 yards as the Broncos fell at home 19-17. Late that same season, he suffered a torn Achilles, which ended his season and derailed his career.
The Texans released Thomas in February of 2019, and he briefly signed with the New England Patriots to be reunited with the former head coach that drafted him in Josh McDaniels but he didn't make it through training camp, getting the boot in final roster cuts. The Patriots shortly thereafter re-signed him (so as not to be obligated to guarantee his full vested-veteran contract) and then promptly traded him to the New York Jets midseason.
Thomas started 10 games for the Jets in 2019 totaling 36 receptions for 433 yards and a touchdown. From there, Thomas' NFL production ceased.
He spent all of 2020 out of football and with a full decade under his belt, Thomas is hanging up his cleats. It was a special career for the former Georgia Tech star.
All in, Thomas' NFL resume includes five Pro Bowl nods and two All-Pro selections (second team). He retires ranked No. 2 in Denver history among receivers — behind only Rod Smith — with 665 receptions (as a Bronco), 9,055 yards, and 60 touchdowns.
Although Thomas' NFL career fell just short of the 10,000-yard milestone, he should be remembered as one of the most dominant receivers of his era. At 6-foot-3 and 225 pounds, he brought freakish speed and twitch for a man his size.
Broncos president of football operations John Elway said this via statement:
“Demaryius had an incredible NFL career and was such a big part of everything we accomplished during his many years as a Bronco. D.T. was the complete package as a wide receiver, growing into one of the very best at his position. The combination of his size, speed, strength and athleticism was unmatched. Demaryius’ remarkable consistency and production were instrumental in our offense setting historic records and our team winning a lot of games, including two AFC Championships and Super Bowl 50. Equally as impressive as his many catches, big plays and touchdowns was the fact he didn’t miss a game for nearly seven years in a row. You could always count on D.T. He belongs among the greatest players in Broncos history for what he’s meant to this organization on the field and out in the community. We appreciate everything Demaryius did for us and congratulate him on his retirement from the NFL.”
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger once famously remarked during a pre-game warmup that he thought Thomas was a tight end, not a wide receiver. Big Ben was soon disabused of that notion when Thomas took a short slant 80 yards to the house, flashing that (verified) 4.38-speed to give the Broncos an upset victory over the Steelers in the 2011 Wildcard Round of the playoffs.
Thomas was a special player and his 122 straight games proved his reliability and that he could produce outside the purview of Manning. He'll end up in the Broncos' Ring of Fame and has a case for the Pro Football Hall of Fame someday, though fans should know not to get their hopes up when it comes to their favorite players all-time landing in Canton.
Follow Chad on Twitter @ChadNJensen.
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