(CBS4) — “One thing about DT, I knew he was different from the moment I walked into the Broncos locker room,” Emmanuel Sanders said. “He would take his shirt off and give it to you, anytime. He had the biggest heart.”
Demaryius Thomas impacted so many in his short time on earth. Now that’s he’s gone, his teammates are working hard to keep his memory alive.
“I still want him to be here today, but the reality is that he’s not,” Sanders said. “So for me, as a friend and a brother, I’m going to try do everything I can to continuously make sure people know his name.”
The Denver Broncos Boys and Girls Club was one of DT’s all-time favorite spots. He spent countless hours there, inspiring the next generation. So when Emmanuel Sanders was looking for a way to carry on Thomas’ legacy, he knew just where to do it.
“Man, he loves this place. I don’t know a person who loves this place more than Demaryius Thomas,” Sanders said of the Boys and Girls Club. “So to be able to leave this type of legacy here, I know this is what he would have wanted.”
Sanders and his foundation gifted a new set of football jerseys to the Broncos Boys and Girls Club youth football team. The jerseys feature an “88” patch as a reminder of Thomas’ passion for volunteering at the Club and the game of football. Sanders also put on a PLAY 60 football clinic for club members and was joined by several Broncos players, including Courtland Sutton, Garett Bolles, Ryan Harris, Cody Latimer, Benny Fowler and Jordan Norwood.
“I’m always looking up, saying, ‘What can I do to help more? Guide me.’ I know he’s in a better place, and I know he’s happy that I’m doing this,” Sanders said.
You don’t have to spend more than five minutes at the Boys and Girls Club before you meet someone who’s life has been changed by Demaryius Thomas, Perhaps no one was affected more by DT’s love than Jayden Tolson.
“He was my everything. He was my superman,” Jayden said.
Jayden was in middle school went he met Demaryius, and his life was going in the wrong direction. Thomas took Jayden under his wing and helped him find his way when he needed it most.
“When Demaryius Thomas showed up, it changed my perspective on life,” Tolson said. “I was getting in trouble, getting suspended from school. I really didn’t have a father figure to show me the ropes, but when Demaryius Thomas came he showed me the way to start going.”
Thomas helped Jayden, and the two developed a deep bond. DT took time to visit Jayden at the Club, and after kept a correspondence through texts and FaceTime, Thomas’ efforts had a massive impact on Jayden and Jayden’s mom, Shaunte.
“Demaryius was a great guy,” Shaunte Timmons said. “For him to take on my son Jayden, take him under his wing and be that role model, it meant everything to me as a single mom. As a single parent, you look for people to come in and make a positive impact — and that’s what DT did.”
Jayden is now a campus monitor at Denver North Middle School and a role model for all the kids who come through the Boys and Girls Club. He’s hoping to carry on DT’s legacy by doing for another child what Demaryius did for him.
“I just try do what Demaryius Thomas would want to me do,” Jayden said. “He would want me to keep pushing through the hard times. He’s looking down on me to make sure I give support to kids who need it. He would tell me to do the right things so the kids at the Boys and Girls club can look up to me like I look up to him.”
“When Demaryius passed, it was devastating for Jayden,” Timmons said. “But he did tell me one thing. He said, ‘I’m going to make Demaryius proud. I’m going to be the person Demaryius always said I could be.’ So I feel like that’s what he’s striving to do . He’s striving to be the best because Demaryius Thomas believed in him, so he believes in himself.”