Demaryius Thomas burst onto the NFL scene with his 80-yard catch that abruptly ended the Broncos' 2011 wild-card game against the Steelers. Four years and three Pro Bowl selections later, Thomas helped Denver capture its third Vince Lombardi Trophy.
Tim Tebow and Peyton Manning -- the two quarterbacks who enjoyed the most success with the wideout -- were among Thomas' former teammates who congratulated him on his recent retirement. Thomas, 33, is third all time in Broncos history in career receptions (665), as well as second in receiving yards (9,0550) and touchdown receptions (60).
"Every day I enjoyed practicing with you, playing with you, being your teammate, being your brother," Tebow said in a video to Thomas, via the Broncos' team website. "I'm so grateful for you, grateful to come in at the same time as you, learn with you, grind with you, be able to have a lot of ups and downs. But, man, I just want you to know you're someone I always trusted, looked up to, loved playing with. I consider you a friend, a brother, a great teammate. I'm so proud of you, everything you've accomplished, your hard work, your dedication, your passion to the game, but also the type of person you were. I loved always just being around you, being with you. You made other people's lives better because they were in your presence, and I think that is really cool."
Thomas parlayed his success with Tebow into even more success when Manning came to Denver in 2012. During their first three seasons together, the duo connected on 297 passes for 4,483 yards and 35 touchdowns. In 2015, Thomas caught 105 passes for 1,304 yards and six touchdowns while helping the Broncos defeat the Panthers in Super Bowl 50.
"It was an honor and a privilege to play with you, to be your teammate," said Manning, who will be enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame later this summer. "I always had great respect for your toughness, your work ethic, your fearlessness across the middle, your ability to make big catches in big games. I never played with anybody as big and strong and powerful and fast as you."
Thomas' slew of congratulatory messages also included tributes from cornerbacks Champ Bailey and Chris Harris, linebackers DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller, safety Brian Dawkins, receiver Emmanuel Sanders, and coaches Gary Kubiak and John Fox.
"I just wanted to reach out and say how proud I am of you and your career -- as a person, as a player," Kubiak said. "I have been very privileged to coach some of the great receivers in football in Jerry Rice, Andre Johnson, the great Rod Smith right there in Denver, and to have the opportunity to be with you for two years and one of those being a championship year means a great deal to me. I wish you all the best. You're a great player and you're a great Bronco."
After trying to finish his career as an active member on the Broncos' roster, Thomas (who dealt with Achilles and hamstring injuries during during the last several years of his career) was able to retire as a Bronco after also spending time with the Texans and Jets.
"There's so many things I can say. I'm humble, grateful, appreciative," Thomas said in the video posted by the Broncos. "I'm just happy to say I'm done and (football) did me well. I just wanted to be considered one of the best to come through Denver. I did my best each and every game -- but it wasn't really about me. I just wanted to go out there and do what's best for the team.
"I've been just trying to find myself. Leaving football is a tough thing. I was trying to find what I wanted to do next and build a relationship where I can help people, trying to find something that I love."