The Broncos honored the late Demaryius Thomas ahead of their Week 14 game against the Lions on Sunday, but they didn't stop there. After paying tribute to the former Pro Bowl wide receiver with a pre-game moment of silence and taking the field with No. 88 helmet decals, the team sent just 10 players to the line for the first play of Sunday's game. Denver allowed the play clock to hit zero while recognizing Thomas' loss, and the Lions subsequently declined the delay-of-game penalty to pay their respects.
Thomas, who starred as one of the best pass catchers in Broncos history over more than eight years in Denver, was found dead in his home on Thursday at the age of 33. The five-time Pro Bowler, perhaps best known as Peyton Manning's No. 1 wideout during the Broncos' multiple Super Bowl bids in the 2010s, may have died as the result of a seizure, his family told the Associated Press.
Celebrated by former coaches and teammates as both an on- and off-field role model, Thomas was the subject of an address to the team on Friday, when coach Vic Fangio and veteran lineman Garrett Bolles remembered the former first-round pick. The Broncos unveiled a painted No. 88 memorial for Thomas before Sunday's game at Empower Field at Mile High, with Manning among the first visitors, and also played a video tribute as part of pre-game events.