Peyton Manning announces scholarship in honor of Demaryius Thomas

Former Denver Broncos receiver Demaryius Thomas, who died in December, is being honored at his alma mater by a Hall of Fame teammate.

Peyton Manning has announced the Demaryius A. Thomas Scholarship Endowment at Georgia Tech so the late Broncos star from Dexter, Ga., “will have a lasting impact on deserving youth from his hometown area who can follow in his footsteps and accomplish great things in life.”

It’s believed that Thomas, 33, died as the result of complications of a 2019 car accident. His family said he had been suffering seizures.

Manning spoke to The Times on Wednesday about the decision to endow a scholarship.

“He was a close friend of our whole family,” Manning said. “He and [my wife], Ashley, were buddies. He was great to our kids. He loved Marshall and Mosley and they loved him. He’d come over to our house after games.

“He’d have a great game or something, and he was talking to them after the game almost as if that was more exciting to him than actually playing in the game. He was great with all kids — coaches’ kids, staff’s kids — he was really special that way and great in the community with his community service.

“[We] wanted to find a way to honor him and keep his legacy alive, and also give back at the same time to someone from the same area where he’s from. Georgia Tech has been great through all of this.”

The Mannings established a scholarship aimed at helping a student or multiple students during their time at Georgia Tech, and the football program is going to honor a player by presenting the No. 8 worn by Thomas to a player on Aug. 8, matching the 88 Thomas wore with the Broncos.

“That’s awesome,” Manning said. “The responsibility that player’s going to have to carry on DT’s legacy of being unselfish, tough, dependable, all the great characteristics that made him such a special player and special teammate. Ashley and I are proud to be a part of this and we miss him every day.”

Thomas played in the NFL for 10 years, but his notable years were with the Broncos. He also played for the Houston Texans, New England Patriots and New York Jets. He was part of the 2015 Super Bowl winning Broncos team.

He finished his career with 724 receptions for 9,763 yards and 63 touchdowns. He announced his retirement in 2021.

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