ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- **Five key takeaways from Demaryius Thomas' press conference Friday:
1. HIS INDIVIDUAL ASPIRATION IS AS HIGH AS YOU CAN GET.
Thomas saved his boldest statement for last, just before he left the team meeting room after answering questions for nearly 25 minutes.
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.
"I don't know (about) a goal, I want to lead the league in yards and touchdowns, basically about everything a receiver can do," Thomas said. "But yeah, I kind of want to break the NFL record in yards."
Thomas sees this as realistic because he averaged 113.69 yards per game after a slow start before the Week 4 bye last year. That would have put him on a 1,819-yard pace over 16 games, which would have been third-best all-time behind Calvin Johnson in 2012 and Jerry Rice in 1995.
"If my first three games weren't bad last year, I would have got it," he said.
2. HOLDING OUT WAS NEVER AN OPTION.
Although Thomas could have waited until November to sign his one-year franchise tender and received credit for the season, he never considered missing any regular-season games and did not want to report late for training camp, either.
Thomas said he figured he needed to be at training camp to help get up to speed with the new offense.
"I would have been here to learn everything," Thomas said. "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."
3. HE'S LIGHTER, BECAUSE HE WANTS TO BE FASTER:
Thomas played in the 228-229-pound range last year, but he spent the offseason emphasizing cardio work to drop to 222 pounds.
"I was just working out in Atlanta sometimes two-a-days, morning, sometimes afternoons," he said. "I was doing more cardio than usual, I did plyometrics. So, it's a little different."
Thomas spent a good chunk of the offseason recovering from the ankle problems through which he played last year. He said he has completely recovered.
At a lighter weight, Thomas believes he can be even more effective.
4. HE GOT INSIGHT ON THE TWEAKED OFFENSE FROM PLENTY OF SOURCES.
Although his primary focus was on his workouts, he got information from teammates and Wide Receivers Coach Tyke Tolbert. But perhaps the most helpful player was Ravens wide receiver Marlon Brown, who played under Head Coach Gary Kubiak last year when he was Baltimore's offensive coordinator.
"[Brown] said there's a lot of big plays to be made," Thomas said. "He said there's a lot of two-tight ends, two receivers, but he said I'd like it."
Thomas said he was able to see "a couple of things" from the practices, but the bulk of his mental work will come during training camp.
5. MISSING THE DUKE SESSIONS ATE AT HIM.
The Peyton Manning-led annual throwing sessions at Duke University are rigorous, but also fun, and Thomas said he missed being able to take part. With Thomas absent, Emmanuel Sanders, Cody Latimer, Owen Daniels, Virgil Green and Andre Caldwell all joined Manning, which led to some good-natured social-media ribbing.
"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," Thomas said. "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."
Although he didn't go to Duke, Thomas kept busy. Thomas worked out with Caldwell at times during the offseason, but was often joined by Brown and Packers safety Morgan Burnett, a college teammate of Thomas. Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green and Bills wide receiver Deonte Thompson were also on hand for some work. Green's contract expires next year, so he was almost as happy as Thomas when the deal was finalized.