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Peyton Manning, Emmanuel Sanders honor Demaryius Thomas’ legacy

Thomas’s former teammates spent the week paying tribute to the Broncos wide receiver.

Happy Mother’s Day to the Broncos Country moms!

When the news spread of Demaryius Thomas’ death in December, it didn’t seem real.

There was shock.

There was disbelief.

Nearly five months later that’s still the case.

Since then, Thomas’s former Denver Broncos teammates have rallied around his authentic spirit to honor and pay tribute to him.

Just this week Peyton Manning created another scholarship to honor Thomas. At the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame banquet, Manning announced the “18 to 88” scholarship grant. It’s a $10,000 scholarship that will be awarded each year to a deserving local high school athlete. The scholarship partners the Peyback Foundation and Colorado Sports Hall of Fame.

“I wanted to do something for him in Denver where he made his mark as an NFL player and had such a big impact on this community,” Manning said to audience. “… (We’re) trying to keep Demaryius’ legacy alive, but also paying it forward, which is what he was all about.”

This comes on top of the Demaryius A. Thomas Scholarship Endowment. This will endow academic scholarships to attend Georgia Tech for incoming freshmen students from Laurens County, Ga., where Thomas was born and raised, or surrounding areas who demonstrate significant financial need.

If that wasn’t enough, Emmanuel Sanders did his part to honor his former teammate and fellow Broncos receiver. He did so by returning to the Broncos Boys & Girls Club.

As the team website laid out:

That’s what brought Sanders to the gym, as he honored his fallen friend by unveiling a mural in Thomas’ memory, speaking to the children at the club, taking part in a PLAY 60 football clinic and donating a new set of jerseys to the club’s youth football team. Each jersey will be emblazoned with a No. 88 patch, and they retired the No. 88 jersey in Thomas’ honor at the ceremony.

“Man, he loved this place,” Sanders said. “I don’t know a person who loved this place more than Demaryius Thomas. … And I think that the reason he loved this place is the same reason I love this place. Even the kids running up to me, I’m like, ‘Man, now I remember why I loved this place so much, because it reminds us of ourselves.’”

Nearly five months later, it still doesn’t feel real that DT is gone.

But his former teammates are doing all they can to honor his legacy.

“(To) walk in this room and see all these pictures of us, hanging out and eating breakfast with my son, ‘Thunder and Lightning’ — it’s kind of sad for me, because I know that I still want him to be here today,” Sanders told the team website. “But the reality is that he’s not. So for me, as a friend and as a brother, I’m going to try to do everything that I can to continuously … make sure people know his name and do what he would like for me to do on Earth since he’s not here anymore.”

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