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Friday morning I woke up, dreading another day of school. I go to my phone on the counter, checking to see who won the game between the Steelers and Vikings. I rejoiced as I saw the Steelers lost, because who doesn’t enjoy that? Anyways, I go to my fantasy group chat, and I see the name, Demaryius Thomas. They almost never talk about him, so I search him up on the internet. My heart dropped as I saw these words: “Former Broncos WR Demaryius Thomas, 33, found dead in his home, police say”. I dropped to the floor and broke down in tears. I was in complete shock. Demaryius Thomas was one of my favorite football players of all time, the reason I became a Broncos fan. I still struggle to comprehend the fact that he is gone. We did not just lose a great football player. We lost an amazing human being, who had the greatest gift life could ever give you: joy.

Joy. This was Demaryius Thomas’ greatest gift. Not his blazing speed. Not his route running. Not his catching ability. His greatest gift was joy. He faced a lot of adversity in his life, but he did not let that define him. His mother and grandmother spent a lot of time in person due to drugs, but Thomas hung in there and found the game of football.

He went on to play at Georgia Tech and became a first-round pick for the Denver Broncos. As a rookie, Thomas had the best play of his career when he took a slant route 80 yards to the endzone against the Steelers in the AFC Wild Card game. From 2012-2016, Thomas posted 5 consecutive 1,000 yard seasons, was considered one of the receivers in the league, and in 2016 he also became a Super Bowl champion. Through all of that, he had that big smile on his face, and he made everyone around him happier. Tim Tebow said it best: I’ll be remembering him for his kindness, his smile that would light up a room, and the love he had for those in his life”.

While we will remember Demaryius Thomas for what he brought on Sundays, we should also remember him as one of the best people to ever walk this earth. We all need to maintain that positive attitude that he had. No matter what life throws at you, always have that big smile on your face, just like #88 did. He faced a ton of adversity from a young age, but he kept on pushing. That is something we should all take away from Demaryius. We will all miss you, Demaryius Thomas. Thank you for the impact that you had not only on Broncos country, but on football fans everywhere. Love you DT. Keep on smiling.