Denver Broncos’ wide receiver Demaryius Thomas’ mother, Katina Smith, may be on hand to see her son play for the very first time at this Sunday’s divisional playoff game between the Broncos and the Pittsburgh Steelers in Denver at 2:40 MT, (4:40 ET) according to USA Today.
Katina Smith was reported to have been sentenced to 20 years in prison for drug offenses in 1999, when Demaryius was 11-years-old, as reported by USA Today. Thomas’ grandmother, Minnie Smith was said to have been arrested and convicted at the same time. Katina was scheduled to have been released in 2017, while Minnie was given a life sentence.
In July, 2015, Katina Smith, along with 45 others serving time in prison, had their sentences commuted by President Barack Obama. The White House stated that “federal sentencing practices can, in too many instances, lead nonviolent drug offenders to spend decades, if not life, in prison” in defense of the president’s actions.
After leaving the prison, Smith was reported to have spent time in a halfway house in Georgia and been under travel restrictions, which have since been lifted, allowing the woman the freedom to travel to Denver to watch her son play football, which she has never been able to do before.
Demaryius Thomas is reported to be working out the “logistics” of getting his mother to Colorado in time for the divisional playoff game on Sunday. The NFL pro has been said to be “reluctant” to speak about his family publicly, and to have made an effort to protect their privacy in the months since news of his mother’s commutation passed.
“I know she’d be excited. It’d mean a lot for her to see my first game live,” Demaryius Thomas was quoted.
Thomas, who is 6 feet 3 inches tall and weighs 229 pounds, went pro with the first round of the 2010 draft as a wide receiver when he was signed the Broncos. He signed a $70 million contract in July, 2015, that sees the self-described Christian catching passes in Denver for at least another five years.
“I was brought up a Christian,” Thomas was quoted by the Gazette in 2014. “I was raised around great people.”
The popular NFL pro has made a total of 439 receptions in his career with the Broncos, and has carried the ball 6,384 yards, according to Yahoo Sports. Demaryius Thomas has 44 career touchdowns, with three in 2015.
From 2012 to 2014, when Thomas played 16 game each season, his yards gained and number of touchdowns peaked: Demaryius scored 14 touchdowns in 2013, and ran 1,619 yards and made 111 receptions in 2014. Though said to not have not significantly impacted his play, an early-October, 2015, neck injury, as reported by SB Nation, Demaryius Thomas’ stats are certainly not at the same level they were from 2012 through 2014.
The Broncos lead the AFC West at the end of the regular season with 12 wins and four losses. The Steelers finished the regular season in second place in the AFC North with 10 wins and six losses. Pittsburgh and Denver met in the regular season, not yet a month ago, at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, where the Steelers were victorious 34-27. In the December game with Pittsburgh, Demaryius Thomas made eight receptions, ran for 61 yards, and scored two touchdowns.
One of the most remembered moments of 28-year-old Thomas’ career came in a playoff game against the Steelers, when the Broncos’ wide receiver caught a pass that was said to have spanned almost the entire length of the field, 80 yards, from then-quarterback Tim Tebow, who hasn’t played in an NFL regular season game since 2012, according to Yahoo Sports.
The Broncos are reported to be 7-point favorites to win on Sunday, according to Sportsbook.ag. Hopefully, if his mother is able to make it, Thomas will be able to run some of the long returns he is known for with Katina Smith looking on proudly from the stands.
[Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images]