Demaryius Thomas rightfully earned a game ball from Coach Vance Joseph for his big day against the Jets.
A day where the wide receiver caught eight balls for 93 yards and one touchdown - plus hitting two milestones along the way.
Thomas is now second place in team history for touchdowns (56) and yards receiving (8,475) - putting him just 13 TDs and slightly less than 3,000 yards shy of moving up to No. 1.
WR @DemaryiusT received a game ball for moving into 2nd place in Broncos history in rec TDs & yds. He's 1-of-6 WRs to rank in NFL's top-10 in both categories since rookie yr in '10. pic.twitter.com/tRiQPtVRQX— Patrick Smyth (@psmyth12) December 11, 2017
And he’s pretty happy about it - especially since the company around him on that list are guys like Hall-of-Famer Shannon Sharpe and Ring-of-Famer Rod Smith.
“It means the world because those guys are like my mentors,” Thomas said in front of a cheering crowd after the win over the Jets Sunday.
But don’t expect him to call Sharpe and brag about passing him on the list on the way to catching up to Smith.
“I still won’t call Shannon. You don’t want to talk to Shannon,” DT said, laughing and noting the type of season the Broncos are having right now at 4-9 is not the kind he wants to have a conversation about with Sharpe. “He’ll take the subject from one thing to another, so I won’t call Shannon.”
It’s possible, though, that DT will call Smith for some tips.
“Man, it means the world. It just shows the hard work I’ve put in paying off. I’m going to continuously do what I do best, [which is] to try and go out and catch footballs and score touchdowns and try to catch Rod Smith,” Thomas said after yesterday’s win over the Jets.
Fans have been hard on Thomas for his dropped passes since signing a monster contract two years ago. But the wide receiver has tallied five 1,000-yard seasons in a row, even in spite of suspect QB play.
Teammate Emmanuel Sanders stood up for his fellow wideout.
“DT is the guy,” Sanders said. “The fans are always hard on him, I never understood it, the guy has six or seven thousand-yard seasons. He’s a player man, big-time player, great teammate and humble, and he deserves everything he’s going to get.”
Joseph called DT’s play yesterday “inspired,” but the wide receiver didn’t think it was much different than he’s tried to play previously; he just had more opportunities and took better advantage of them yesterday.
“We went out as a team today and we came out with a win as a group. Like I said, I took advantage of my opportunities,” Thomas said, adding it was a lot more fun playing with a lead and starting fast on offense. “We’re used to going out, starting fast and either turning the ball over or giving the [other] team points. We were able to go out and get points and then come back and score a touchdown. That was basically it. The game is about always having fun, and that’s what I was doing.”