Demaryius Thomas, New York Jets
Demaryius Thomas, New York Jets, Getty Images

Thomas passed at the age of 33 in December

Medical examiners have revealed to ESPN that former New York Jets receiver Demaryius Thomas died of “complications of a seizure disorder,” in December, ending the lauded NFL star’s life at the age of 33. The cause was found during an autopsy performed by the Fulton County Medical Examiner in Georgia, where Thomas was found dead in Roswell.

Thomas, best known for his nine seasons with the Denver Broncos, spent what became his final NFL campaign with the New York Jets in 2019, earning 433 yards over 11 games.

Following his death, Thomas’ brain was donated to Boston University, where doctors declared that he suffered from chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a brain disease that has been found in numerous deceased NFL players. ESPN’s report from Jeff Legwold states that the report from the medical examiner says that the same BU researchers believed that the CTE did not cause the disorder, though the exact manner of Thomas’ death (i.e., whether it was through natural causes) has not been officially determined.

Thomas had suffered seizures since 2019, when he was involved in an auto accident.

One of the most renowned big-play receivers from the prior decade, Thomas’s tragic death was universally mourned by the football community. Members of the Jets, including those who played with Thomas during that 2019 season, were among those who paid tribute.

“This one hurts,” Thomas’ fellow receiver Braxton Berrios said on Twitter. “DT was one of the most genuine, kind-hearted people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. Taken way too soon.”

Head coach Robert Saleh never worked directly with Thomas but was more than familiar with his work: as an assistant coach with the Seattle Seahawks, Saleh was able to help mostly shut down Denver’s high-octane offense in a 43-8 win in Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium. Still, the vaunted defense couldn’t stop Thomas from making a then-Super Bowl record 13 receptions despite playing the game with an injured shoulder.

“I’ve heard he’s an unbelievable pro. They produced a lot when he was at Denver,” Saleh said at the time. “A lot of wars in Seattle too, a lot of playing those guys. Just a shame. I’m sure there are a lot of hurt hearts in the football community for sure.”

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags 

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Geoff Magliocchetti is a veteran football writer with years of credentialed experience with the Jets and Giants. Email:
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