Monday's NFL: Demaryius Thomas retires after 10-year career

Nolan Bianchi
The Detroit News

Englewood, Colo. — Five-time Pro Bowl receiver Demaryius Thomas announced his retirement from the NFL on Monday following a decade-long career.

“I'm just happy to say I'm done and it did me well,” Thomas said in a video on the Broncos' Twitter account.

Thomas was part of the winningest four-year period in team history from 2012-15 with Peyton Manning at quarterback. The Denver Broncos went 55-17 during that span, winning two AFC titles and Super Bowl 50.

FILE - In this Sept. 16, 2018, file photo, Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas runs against the Oakland Raiders during the second half of an NFL football game in Denver.

Manning said he never played with somebody as big, as strong and as fast as Thomas, who caught 445 passes for 6,249 yards and 46 touchdowns from 2012-15, including the playoffs.

Thomas' biggest catch, however came with Tim Tebow at quarterback in an AFC wild-card game on Jan. 8, 2012, when he hauled in a 80-yard touchdown pass on the first snap of overtime to beat Pittsburgh 29-23 in a memorable moment.

“I’ve never heard Empower Field at Mile High louder,” Broncos president and CEO Joe Ellis said.

“It was like it was yesterday,” Thomas said in the video the Broncos posted on their Twitter account celebrating his career. “Every time I see it, every time I watch it, I still get the chills because it was just crazy.”

The Broncos plan to celebrate Thomas' nine-year stint in Denver during their home opener against the New York Jets on Sept. 26. Thomas will serve as honorary captain and there will be a video tribute to his career.

“D.T. was the complete package as a wide receiver, growing into one of the very best at his position,” said Broncos president of football operations John Elway. "The combination of his size, speed, strength and athleticism was unmatched. Demaryius’ remarkable consistency and production were instrumental in our offense setting historic records and our team winning a lot of games, including two AFC championships and Super Bowl 50.

“Equally as impressive as his many catches, big plays and touchdowns was the fact he didn’t miss a game for nearly seven years in a row," Elway added. "You could always count on D.T. He belongs among the greatest players in Broncos history for what he’s meant to this organization on the field and out in the community. We appreciate everything Demaryius did for us and congratulate him on his retirement from the NFL.”

Thomas was selected 22nd overall in the 2010 draft out of Georgia Tech. After playing for the Broncos from 2010-18, he was traded to the Houston Texans and finished his career with the Jets in 2019.

Despite appearing on the injury report two dozen times with finger, shoulder, hip, knee, ankle, neck, calf and hand injuries, Thomas played every possible game during his final seven seasons in Denver.

He was selected to the Pro Bowl five consecutive seasons, beginning in 2012 and finishing in 2016 with Trevor Siemian at quarterback following Manning's retirement a month after winning Super Bowl 50.

He tied a franchise record with 14 TD catches in 2013 as the leading scorer on the most prolific offense in league history, one that piled up a record 606 points. His best statistical season came a year later when he set career highs with 111 catches for 1,619 yards.

During his four seasons with Manning, Thomas topped 90 catches and 1,300 receiving yards each year, joining Hall of Famers Marvin Harrison and Jerry Rice as the only receivers in NFL history to reach those marks in four consecutive seasons.

The only other Broncos to make five consecutive Pro Bowls were Hall of Famers Steve Atwater and Shannon Sharpe.

Thomas caught Manning's NFL-record 509th touchdown pass against the 49ers on Oct. 19, 2014.

More of Monday's NFL

Pro football Hall honors Facenda with Rozelle TV-radio award

Canton, Ohio — The late John Facenda, a longtime narrator of NFL highlights whose voice became synonymous with the league, has won the Pro Football Hall of Fame's 2021 Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award.

Facenda was a television news anchor in Philadelphia when NFL Films creator Ed Sabol heard his distinct voice describing some highlights in 1965. Sabol invited Facenda to read scripts, leading to a job Facenda held for 19 years until his death in 1984 at 71.

“For nearly 20 years, John Facenda’s resonant voice was, and even today still is, synonymous with the power, strength and character of the NFL,” said Hall of Fame president David Baker, who made the announcement Monday.

The Hall of Fame presents the Rozelle award annually in recognition of longtime exceptional contributions to radio and television in pro football.

Facenda narrated numerous films and weekly highlights packages, contributing to the growth in interest surrounding pro football. His speaking style earned him the nickname “The Voice of God” and contributed to the expansion of NFL Films.

Sabol, the 1991 Rozelle award winner, made the Hall of Fame in 2011. His son, Steve Sabol, will be part of the celebration for Facenda as a member of the centennial class of 2020.

Jack Facenda will accept the Rozelle award on his dad's behalf Aug. 6 during enshrinement weekend.

Facenda's career started in radio in Philadelphia before he debuted as an anchor in 1952. Facenda was one of the creators of the TV news format still used today, with separate segments for news, sports and weather.