DENVER — Hundreds of friends, family members and mourners packed a high school gym in Georgia Saturday to remember and pay homage to former Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas.
The 33-year-old was laid to rest in his hometown following the public viewing and memorial service at West Laurens High School in Dexter, Georgia, where Thomas played high school football.
Thomas was found dead in his Atlanta-area home Dec. 9. His family believes he died from a seizure, and foul play is not suspected.
Several people spoke during the service, including his former coach, Dwayne Gibson.
“Let me tell you something about love. Love don't never vanish. It don't never diminish. Love is just as strong today as it was yesterday. A man's love goes on and on and on. I promise you,” Gibson said during the service.
His former Broncos teammate, Ryan Harris, called Thomas an elite player and said he was lucky to have played with him during his time with the Broncos. He spoke about the last time he saw Thomas.
"But I have great peace today knowing that the last time I saw DT was at Peyton Manning's Hall of Fame celebration. On the way out, I told him, ‘Hey, man, I love you.'” Harris said.
Thomas retired as a Bronco last summer, paving his way back to his eventual induction into the team's Ring of Fame. Thomas arrived in Denver in 2010 as a first-round draft choice, known for his blocking and athleticism at Georgia Tech.
He evolved into the franchise's second-most accomplished receiver ever, behind only Rod Smith. Thomas, who would have turned 34 on Christmas Day, earned five Pro Bowl berths and two All-Pro selections.
He caught 724 passes for 9,763 passes for 63 touchdowns. He will forever be known for his walk-off score against the Pittsburgh Steelers in the playoffs, catching a slant pass from Tim Tebow.
From 2012 to 2017, Thomas became one of the league's premier wideouts. He averaged 96 catches and nine touchdowns per season, his rise coinciding with his connection with Hall of Famer Peyton Manning, who maintained a friendship with Thomas.