Peyton Manning Honors Friend, Deceased Super Bowl Teammate | Demaryius Thomas Scholarship Will Help Georgia Students Cover College Expenses at Thomas’ Alma Mater Georgia Tech

(Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

The NFL lost one of its most inspiring, high-character and passionate players of the game late last year when Demaryius Thomas passed away on Dec. 9 due to a health issue that has not been made public.

Former Denver Broncos Wide Receiver Demaryius Thomas Passes Away | Suffered From Seizures

While the football world mourned and grieved his loss, players have found many different ways to honor the former wide receiver and his legacy.

Most recently Hall Of Famer quarterback Peyton Manning has partnered with Thomas’ alma mater Georgia Tech to come up with the Demaryius Thomas Scholarship.

The scholarships will award academic scholarships to freshmen from Laurens County, Georgia, Thomas’ hometown and surrounding areas. The scholarship will be awarded to students who have displayed financial need and exemplary academic achievement. This scholarship can be full or partial and will run until the student graduates from Georgia Tech. 

This Demaryius Thomas Scholarship partnership is in conjunction with Peyton Manning’s PeyBack Foundation. Manning was eager to help begin this foundation as well, speaking about why he did so in a statement on Wednesday.

“Demaryius Thomas was an incredibly talented and unselfish teammate, but more importantly, he was a special person and friend,” Manning said Wednesday. “My family and I miss him dearly, and we wanted to honor D.T.’s memory by partnering the PeyBack Foundation with Georgia Tech to establish the Demaryius A. Thomas Scholarship Endowment.

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“An important part of Demaryius’ legacy was the way he inspired the next generation to pursue their dreams with the same perseverance and determination that defined him,” Manning said. “Through this scholarship to Georgia Tech, Demaryius will have a lasting impact on deserving youth from his hometown area who can follow in his footsteps and accomplish great things in life.”

With this scholarship in effect, Thomas’ legacy continues to grow and benefit the lives of many individuals, families and generations of families moving forward. But that’s exactly the type of guy that Thomas was.

The former Bronco and Yellow Jacket frequently showed up at Boys and Girls Club events and regularly donated to charities and made appearances at them.

Another program he was heavily involved in was A Precious Child, a nonprofit organization focused on giving back to the youth in their community. Thomas had his jersey hung in their distribution center for the help and efforts he gave them. Thomas also hosted training camps for children as well, allowing them to get out on the field and work and exercise with him.

A Precious Child chief communications officer Courtney Wickberg talked about how much love Thomas had for the children, and how his efforts went beyond just making appearances, or taking photos with the kids, but how everything was genuine and from the heart.

“He doesn’t play football with them, then sit down and take some pictures, he really invested in those kids and took time to talk with them and just relate with them,” she said. “Most people know DT could really relate to the kids that we serve, kids in need, and how important it was for them to be involved with sports and involved in football.”

‘Demaryius Thomas Day’

Georgia Tech also announced that Aug. 8 will be recognized as “Demaryius Thomas Day” annually, in recognition of the number he wore as a star wideout at the ACC school. Whoever is the recipient of the Demaryius Thomas Scholarship will also be recognized that day as well — along with the Georgia Tech football team wearing the No. 8 on their helmets in the 2022 season. 

(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

As a pro, Demaryius spent the last eight years of his 10-year NFL career (2010-2019) with the Denver Broncos. From 2012-2016 Thomas was an A-1 NFL pass-snatcher, posting five consecutive 1,000-plus-yard receiving seasons and catching 46 TDs. He finished his career top 50 in all-time receptions with 724 receptions. He amassed more than 9,700 yards receiving, which places him among the top 55 all-time.

Demaryius Thomas’ lifetime of work helping the communities he inhabited and being one of the most prolific football wide receivers in the game is well cemented in NFL lore. Ask anyone who knew him, and they’ll insist he was a rare superstar. One that never forgot where he came from. This scholarship underlines the morals and goals that the Super Bowl champion and four-time Pro Bowl player exhibited on and off the field.