A new development has been released concerning the death of four-time Pro Bowl receiver Demaryius Thomas, who died on December 9, 2021.
According to the NY Times, doctors from Boston University announced on July 5 that Thomas, who spent nine seasons with the Denver Broncos, was posthumously diagnosed with Stage 2 Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
Thomas also suffered from seizures due to a 2019 car crash. The 10-year NFL veteran had a seizure in the shower before he was pronounced dead in his hometown of Roswell, Georgia.
The 33-year-old retired months before his December death.
Ken Belson reports that Thomas had the “hallmarks” of C.T.E. as those close to him said his life was “marked by the memory loss, paranoia and isolation.”
During Thomas’s 10-year career, he caught 777 receptions for 69 touchdowns and 10,522 total yards and contributed to the Super Bowl 50 win with the Broncos in 2016.
Can’t Pin Death Solely on CTE
According to the NY Times, the Fulton County coroner’s office in Georgia has not yet ruled on Thomas’ cause of death. Dr. Ann McKee, the neuropathologist who studied Thomas’s brain, said that Thomas’s CTE and history of seizures played a role in his death.
“He had two different conditions in parallel,” McKee said.
McKee added that seizures weren’t connected with C.T.E.
Katina Smith, Thomas’ mother, disclosed that the NFL veteran told her after retirement that “his peripheral vision was diminished.” Bobby Thomas, Thomas’ father, told The NY Times that the former Broncos star “grew to the point that he never left home without a gun.”
According to Belson, Thomas’ plans for a potential NFL comeback were halted due to increased dependence on medical care, which included anti-seizure medication, hyperbaric chamber treatment and ozone therapy.
Boston University’s C.T.E Center said in a statement, according to the Denver Post, that Thomas’ brain showed “multiple CTE lesions” and “while in his 20s, he suffered from daily headaches, chronic pain and vision issues . . . In his 30s, he began having anxiety, depression, apathy and memory lapses.”
Thomas’ Career as a Bronco
Other than the Broncos, Thomas played for four teams in his 10-year career including the Houston Texans, New England Patriots and New York Jets.
But he will always be remembered for being a Bronco.
Thomas was drafted in the first round of the 2010 draft, but injuries hurt him mightily in his first two seasons. Fortunately, Thomas came back late from injury in his second season and became starting QB Tim Tebow’s favorite target.
In the 2011 playoffs, Thomas caught the game-winning, 80-yard touchdown pass from Tebow on the opening play of overtime to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Broncos signed Peyton Manning the following season. In Thomas’ third season, he erupted, catching 94 passes for 1434 yards. His major contributions led to the appearances of two Super Bowls and a championship in 2015.
Thomas is one of four players in NFL history to have four straight seasons with 1,300+ receiving yards. Manning was the quarterback for all four seasons.
The Hall of Fame quarterback had a personal relationship with the playmaker.
“D.T. was a better person than he was a player, and he was a Hall of Fame player,” said Manning. “That tells you how good of a person he was. He treated my kids like they were his own. He was there for every teammate’s charity event.”
The Broncos honored Thomas during their Week 14 matchup against the Lions in 2021.
At the start of the game, Denver played with 10 players on the field in memory of Thomas.
His No. 88 jersey could be found throughout Empower Field at Mile High.