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Mile High Morning: How Kareem Jackson is honoring the memory of Demaryius Thomas


The Lead

It has been just over a year since wide receiver Demaryius Thomas' passing, but the Broncos continue to celebrate the life and legacy of No. 88.

As Christmas Day approaches — what would have been Thomas' 35th birthday — ESPN’s Jeff Legwold shared the various ways in which current and former Broncos players, staff and members of Thomas' family are remembering him.

One of the many people honoring Thomas' legacy is safety Kareem Jackson, who has had one of Thomas' game-worn No. 88 jerseys hung in his locker for every game this season. He told Legwold that seeing it reminds him of the wide receiver's spirit and dedication to the game.

"At first, I wasn't really all the way sure why I wanted to keep it with me,'' Jackson said. "It just seemed like what I wanted to do, what I should do. It was important for me to remind myself, to feel his presence, because how he did things, how he carried himself. And when I look at it, you ... see the green, the grass stains, that's what pops out at me.

"He put them there, you know, trying to get everything he could out of every play. Maybe it's because it's that, it's from the ground, from a game we were in together. I just see that green, it just kind of stops me every time.''

Legwold noted that Jackson and Thomas' friendship began as teenagers in central Georgia, where they competed against one another in basketball every summer, and their bond continued to grow through their years in the NFL. The duo swapped jerseys after a 2013 contest between the Texans and Broncos, and that jersey is the one Jackson brings with him to every game.

"I look at it now and I think about trading with him, my jersey for his, the season he was having then, the look on his face, what he said," Jackson told Legwold. "I sit here now and it's not just that; I look at it and it's playing basketball against him in high school, his laugh, the smile, you know, kind of everything.''

Below the Fold

Cornerback Pat Surtain II has played at an extremely high level all season, and he was named a Pro Bowl Games starter this week for the first time in his career.

While he has not totaled as many interceptions as some other top cornerbacks in the league, Surtain has displayed elite coverage skills — a category in which he ranked No. 1 in Matt Bowen's Shutdown Index for ESPN.

"Surtain has the ideal frame (6-foot-2, 202 pounds) and length for an NFL cornerback, and he displays the short-area acceleration to close on the ball," Bowen wrote. "He moves like a smaller defender. Surtain is the best coverage defender I've watched on tape this season. He has all the tools and the matchup versatility to lock down big receivers, vertical targets or second-level options with east-west quickness. Surtain has 10 pass breakups and two interceptions. Simply put, he's an All-Pro talent."

The Unclassifieds

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