A little less than one year ago, Demaryius Thomas was not only between a rock and a hard spot, but he had another rock hanging from his foot. In February, Thomas tore his Achilles tendon forcing him into a cast. Doctor’s said that he would miss 8-12 months, undergoing surgery and working an intense rehab program.
It was the worst position a second year player could put himself in, particularly with a new coaching staff taking the reins of the Denver Broncos.
The league-wide lockout prevented the Broncos medical staff from keeping in contact with Thomas through the rehabilitation process. Thomas, however, excelled and made an impressive comeback from the nasty injury.
“Once we were allowed to have contact with the players, he was way ahead of schedule,” John Fox said. “In fact, there was discussion about him being on PUP to start the season, and as we got through training camp, we actually accelerated that and kept him on the 53 (man roster).
Thomas was on the express train to playing in week 2 or 3 of the season, but he broke his finger in training camp which didn’t allow him to suit up for the first time until week 7 when the Broncos played the Miami Dolphins.
Being drafted with the Broncos first pick in 2010, people expected Thomas to be that big playmaker both physically and figuratively. He had Brandon Marshall-like size (6’3″, 229 lbs.), and strength.
It wasn’t until Sunday that the world actually saw what a huge threat Thomas could be. On the first play in overtime, he ran a slant from left to right across the middle of the field.
“I know walking up to the line, I saw the safety come down,” Thomas said. “I said ‘This is going to be a big play.’ The middle of the field was wide open. All I had to do was beat the corner, and once I beat him, it was nothing but green grass.”
Thomas’s 80-yard touchdown reception was enough to make the new overtime rules irrelevant. His stiff arm and run were enough to move past the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first round of the playoffs.
Thomas finished the day with four receptions for 204 yards and one score.
“I was happy that we won, but I was really happy for Demaryius because he’s been going through a lot,” Willis McGhaee said.
McGahee wasn’t alone.
“It says a lot about him,” Eddie Royal said of Thomas. “He’s been through a lot in his short career, and I’m just happy for the guy because I know the hard work that he puts in. It was good for us to see him come out and have that type of day.
And to think, according to McGahee, Thomas had a rough week in practice.
He just put the beat down on the No. 1 ranked passing defense in the league. That’s not a miracle. That’s hard work paying off.