CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- President Obama commuted the sentence of 214 federal prisoners Wednesday, including the grandmother of Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas.
Minnie Pearl Thomas joins her daughter and Demaryius' mother Katina Stuckey Smith who was released early a year ago. Minnie Pearl Thomas served 16 years for dealing cocaine, and had been sentenced to two life terms.
"It is a blessing," Demaryius Thomas said Wednesday afternoon.
Thomas finished a weightlifting session when a member of the Broncos media relations staff informed him of the news. He raced to check his phone. He talked to his aunt and missed a call from his mother as he spoke to the media. For Thomas, this day began taking shape in June when he thanked President Obama personally during the Broncos' White House visit for commuting his mother's sentence.
"He brought up my grandma then, so I was hopeful something might happen," Thomas said.
Last season Thomas admitted distractions affected his on-field performance. He caught 105 passes but finished with a career low 12.4 yards per reception. Thomas' nine drops ranked fifth worst, two behind league leader Mike Evans.
"I think it will be different this time because she has my mom to help her," said Thomas.
Thomas' mom is living and working in Georgia. Mother and daughter shared a cell in Tallahassee, Fla., for more than a decade.
Thomas hopes his grandma can see him play in person either this season or next. His mother watched him play for the first time in the divisional playoff game against Pittsburgh. It was difficult for his grandmother after her daughter was released. She often cried about it during conversations with Demaryius.
"It was a shock that happened today," Thomas said. "Everything is going to be sweeter now."
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