The news of Demaryius Thomas has rocked the Denver Broncos. And with it, Broncos Country.
The death of the 33-year-old still doesn’t feel real. As people come to grips with the devasting news, they’ll look back on the moments and times that are etched in their minds.
Broncos legend Steve Atwater joined Broncos Country Tonight on Friday to remember DT, as well as to discuss his impact on the community and the game of football. As Ryan Edwards said on the show to welcome Atwater, in normal circumstances, it’s a thrill to hear from the Broncos Ring of Famer and Hall of Famer. Yet in a moment like this, perhaps no one is better equipped to talk about Thomas and what he meant to so many people.
“It’s just heartbreaking,” Atwater said. “He was such a great person. He was so kind to everyone. Great player. Just had a fun spirit. You hate to see anyone pass, but especially a great person like Demaryius. I think he touched so many peoples’ hearts here. Not only by his play on the field but also all of the things he did off the field with the way he treated people. He always made people special.
“It’s just way too early. I’m still in shock. I’ve shed a lot of tears over the last 12 or so hours since I heard about the news. My heart goes out to his family. I just know how difficult of a time this must be for them.”
As Benjamin Allbright said, what makes this even tougher is the fact Thomas was just getting started on the second phase of his life. Ben mentioned how much he wanted to help kids not have the same rough upbringing that he had. However he was going to do that, DT wanted to make the world a better place in his second act.
“I think a lot of guys when they finish playing the game, they’ve got to figure out what’s next,” Atwater said. “To settle on giving back is so selfless of him and who Demaryius was. It’s still hard for me to say ‘was,’ I want to say ‘is.’ That’s just the type of person he was. Just a super-giving guy. I just know whatever he put his heart and mind to, he would have been great at it. Still a lot of pain. But I know my pain pales in comparison to the pain of his family and a lot of the people who knew him much better than I did.
“I got a chance to know him and we had a relationship but it wasn’t nearly as tight as the guys that he was in the locker room with, the coaches and his family. But I was honored for the time we got to spend together and the friendship that we developed over the years.”