Former NFL wide receiver Demaryius Thomas was found dead in his Roswell, Georgia, home on Thursday evening, a spokesperson for the city’s police department confirmed to USA TODAY Sports. He was 33 years old.
“Preliminary information is that his death stems from a medical issue, and our investigators currently have no reason to believe otherwise,” the police spokesperson, Tim Lupo, wrote in an email to USA TODAY Sports early Friday morning.
A five-time Pro Bowl selection, Thomas spent the bulk of his career with the Denver Broncos, where he caught 665 passes and was part of the team that won Super Bowl 50. He went on to have brief stints with the Houston Texans, New England Patriots and New York Jets before announcing his retirement earlier this year.
“I’m just happy to say I’m done, and it did me well,” Thomas said in a video announcement.
News of Thomas’ death sent shockwaves throughout the NFL community late Thursday, leaving those who knew in both disbelief and grief.
“Honored to have known you brutha,” former Broncos running back Terrell Davis wrote on Twitter.
“Heartbroken! Love ya DT!” added ex-teammate Wes Welker.
“I’m at a total loss,” wrote Broncos wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni, who coached Thomas for one season. “I’m sick…. I’m crying. I’m just…. I don’t know.”
Jeff Clayton, the athletic director who oversees Thomas’ high school, told USA TODAY Sports in an email: “To say we are all heartbroken is an understatement.”
Demaryius Thomas played 11 years in the NFL, and had five 1,000-yard receiving seasons.
Thomas was born on Christmas Day in 1987 and grew up in Montrose, Georgia, a rural community about two hours outside of Atlanta. “We had pea fields, cornfields,” he told The Denver Post in 2012. “Planting tomatoes, collard greens.”
He went on to star at West Laurens High School before enrolling at Georgia Tech, where he became an unusually dominant force in the Yellow Jackets’ run-heavy, triple-option offense. During his final season with the program,…