New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick had nothing but positive things to say about former Denver Broncos receiver Demaryius Thomas. Belichick spoke Wednesday about his relationship with Thomas. The two weren't together long, but Belichick appreciated Thomas as both a player and a person.
Thomas spent preseason with the Patriots in 2009. He was coming off an Achilles injury when he joined the team. After being cut and then re-signed by the Patriots, Thomas was traded to the New York Jets in September. He finished out his career in New York.
In the short time he was with the Patriots, Thomas made an impression on Belichick and the rest of the organization.
“That’s a very sad and unfortunate situation. Our thoughts and prayers to his family. Great kid, who didn’t have an easy start to his life. He embraced every opportunity that he had and had relationships with everybody from the top all the way down to the lowest ballboy,” Belichick said Wednesday. “He always had a smile on his face. Worked hard. Team player. A very passionate and compassionate individual. He did everything you asked him to do. Everybody has a ton of respect for DT. Josh (McDaniels) knew him well, better than anyone in this locker room, but we had a lot of people who had relationships with him. They were all positive. I don’t think anyone could ever find a bad word to say about him. We think about all he went through, what he accomplished in his life and what he had to overcome. He was a great player and a better person.”
Thomas spent 10 seasons in the NFL, the majority of which came with the Broncos. Thomas broke out during his third season in the league, gaining 1,434 receiving yards and scoring 10 touchdowns. From 2012 to 2017, Thomas averaged 95.8 catches, 13,03.2 yards and 8.5 touchdowns per year.
The Broncos traded Thomas to the Houston Texans during the 2018 season. Thomas tore his Achilles that December. He signed with the Patriots in the offseason and rehabbed the injury before being traded to the Jets, where he finished his career.
A number of NFL players — including DeAndre Hopkins and Von Miller — paid tribute to Thomas during Week 14.