WIDE RECEIVER DEMARYIUS THOMAS
First off, I want to start off by thanking the Broncos and my agent for finally getting a deal done. It's been a while, but thank you to you guys. And I also want to thank the fans for being patient. It's been a long offseason with my mom's situation and the franchise [tag] and quarterback situation. But I'm happy to be back and ask any questions you all have."
On if his mother's upcoming release from prison motivated him to sign a contract
"No. I kind of knew the whole time. I always wanted to finish a Bronco and retire a Bronco. I kind of knew we would get something done. It was just [getting] the right thing. Once it happened, I was like, 'I can have two things happen in one week' and it's just amazing."
On how he can become a greater leader on the team
"I think it's picking up from where I left off, [and] of course coming back and running a new offense. I still think as a player I can be better at things and work on things to get better. But the biggest part is being a bigger leader on the field and off the field. I think I can be bigger than I've been these past couple years."
After signing a new five-year contract with the Broncos, Demaryius Thomas returned to Dove Valley to meet with the media. All photos by Eric Lars Bakke.
On how the contract negotiations happened
"Actually, we kind of knew that whole morning. I was in the office for probably two hours at the most. It was basically just going up and signing it. I was proud. It wasn't much. I didn't have to talk to anybody. I just had to sign."
On if he grew nervous as the deadline approached
"No, I didn't. I kind of knew for a little while that I was going to be a Bronco."
On if he thought the deal would get done by the deadline
"I kind of knew a week before. Just talking to my agent, he and [Executive Vice President of Football Operations/General Manager John] Elway were going back and forth. I kind of knew the week before that I felt like I was going to get a deal done."
On how he found out his mother's prison sentence had been commuted
"The first person that told me was her. I woke up that morning and I saw two missed phone calls from her, and probably 10 minutes later, she had called me again. I knew it was something because I've never seen her call me that early. She told me the news. The first thing she said was she would be out November 10. But she called me back a couple hours later. She'll actually get out probably two more weeks [later] to go to a halfway house. That's kind of good. She'll be back in Georgia. I don't know how long she'll be there but I look forward to her coming to her first game."
On when his mother will see him play for the first time
"I really don't know yet. It just depends [on] once she gets out of the halfway house, to see how fast she can get out this way. I know she'll probably be nervous. She's never flown."
On how he has kept up with the team in his absence during the offseason
"My main thing is I've just been training. I had a couple things I was able to watch with guys. Basically [I've] been trying to stay in the best shape I can. It's a lot different from football shape, but I think with it coming right from the playbook, I think it will come a little bit easier because I'll actually be working out with coached guys that have played under the offense, like [Bills WR] Deonte Thompson and [Ravens WR] Marlon [Brown] from the Ravens that were telling me about it. I look forward to it and I think I'll catch on fast."
On the possibility of finishing his career as one of the best Broncos of all time
"I don't know. I still remember from draft day, I had no idea that I was going to be a Bronco. From that day on, I said I was going to be the best that I could be to help this team win a Super Bowl or win a lot of games. So far, we haven't gotten the Super Bowl. We still have some work to do, and I look forward to working and getting a Super Bowl before I'm done."
On what it means to be a Denver Bronco
"It means a lot. They took a chance on me when I was coming out. The fans, they love me. Everybody around here loves me. The organization is the best. It's the only one I've been in. It's kind of breathtaking because I never thought I'd be in the situation I am now coming from where I came [from]. I look forward to it. I'm a happy man."
On if his mother's commuted prison sentence was more meaningful coming from the President
"I think so. I was hearing from my mom and granny at the same time that he would be picking some women. For my mom to be one of the 46, it was a blessing. I probably would say yes."
On if he considered sitting out games without a new contract
"I wasn't going to sit out games. I was going to still play. It's just the fact of the kind of shape I would be in. But I was still going to play. I was going to play every 16 games."
On if he thought he would be in this position growing up
"Not as a football player. I remember before my mom went to prison I told her that I would go pro in something. I was thinking that it would be basketball. I didn't really start playing football until I was 15 and started liking it. Looking back and thinking about it all now, it's a blessing."
On support from teammates during the offseason
"I got a lot of support from everybody. I had a FaceTime call with [LB] Von [Miller] and a couple of the other guys. I talked to [QB] Peyton [Manning] here and there. There was a lot of support. They just said, 'Get everything done and we can't wait to have you back.'"
Take a look through Demaryius Thomas' career as a Denver Bronco, including his milestones.
On if he will relocate his mother and family to the area
"It's going to take time. My mom is going to have to get back to being normal. She's been gone for a long time, and I'm still trying to get my granny out. It will happen, but it will take some time."
On the impact of [Cowboys WR] Dez Bryant's contract
"I never talked to Dez Bryant over the phone. The only time that I ever talked to him was at an event. I wasn't worried about it. I knew something was going to get done, so I just let my agent handle it. I think my main focus was to be in better shape than I was in last year because I want to have a better than I had last year."
On comparisons with Bryant
"I try to be the best. I don't know who the best is right now, but I think that I'm the best. I like to compete. He's good and there are a lot of guys out there that are good, but I don't really compare myself to them. I let the fans do that. You hear it a lot, 'He's better than you,' and all that, but I don't care. I just go out there."
On how to be better next year with the new contract
"I wasn't going to let the franchise tag affect me. I was still going to go out and play my best game. I would try to put up better numbers and make the best of the situation. I was going to go out and play and if I got hurt, it wasn't going to be on me. I've been praying every day that something would happen. If I got hurt, the man above would have taken care of me, but now I can go out and make sure I'm better. I watched some games that I played and there were some where I took a play or two off and missed a couple of blocks. I think that if I do those little things it will make everybody around me better and make me a better player. That's my main focus right now. Not having drops and to not take any plays off. If I have to take a play off, I should just get out."
On being the sixth-ranked wide receiver in the 'NFL Top 100'
"It's their opinion. I don't care because I know what I can do. As long as I can go out there and be healthy and help my team win, I'm fine."
On not attending the workouts with Broncos teammates at Duke University
"That was really tough. My ankle was still bothering me at the time, but I was hoping to go down, see the new routes and be with Peyton. I have so much love for Peyton with how much he helped me the past three years. I feel like I'm a step behind and I still wanted to go down there, but I had rehab, got better and talked to them as much as I could."
On if he would have attended training camp without a new contract
"I would have been here to learn everything. Once I got on the field and in football shape, I could have been as fast as the others. I remember my first few games last year when I was a bit slower and I hated that. I didn't want to have to feel the same way this year."
On his rehabilitation and current health
"I think that I'm a little faster, but I'm trying to play at a smaller weight this year and see how it goes. The ankle feels good though."
On his comments and the end of last season
"Before we played the [Indianapolis] Colts there were guys saying how they didn't want to go to the cold weather because they found out that the [New England] Patriots had won. I knew it was not a good situation then and that's what I meant. I think we're a whole new team, with a different coaching staff and different mindset. There are new faces around, so we're looking forward to it and hopefully there aren't guys saying the same thing as last year."
On being a leader
"I know I need to be a leader. I'm a quiet guy and don't say much, but like old guys like [former CB] Champ [Bailey] and [former S] Brian Dawkins were telling me I need to step up—and [former TE] Shannon Sharpe telling me to step up and be a leader. When I hear that from those guys, it really means something. I need to step up and have the guys listen to me."