In last year's playoffs, Demaryius Thomas stepped onto the field knowing that something was very different; his mother, Katina Smith, would finally be watching him play NFL football.
Come December of 2016, Thomas will have another familiar face in the crowd. His grandmother, 60-year-old Minnie Pearl Thomas has had her sentence commuted by President Barack Obama, one of 214 non-violent drug sentence commutations.
The wide receiver spoke about the news after practice:
"I don’t really know what to say," Thomas said. "I just want to talk to my granny. I haven’t talked to her in a couple of weeks. I’m excited for her. She was sad when mom left. She used to cry when she was in there by herself. I’m just excited for her and I want to thank Obama for all that he’s done for her and everybody else.”
http://www.scout.com/nfl/broncos/story/1688594-mhh-premium-how-you-can-s...Minnie Pearl Thomas has spent the last 16 years of her life in a Florida federal prison after she and her daughter, Katina, were involved in a cocaine ring when Demaryius Thomas was just a boy. His mother was sentenced to 20 years, while his grandmother faced life in prison.
Katina Smith served the vast majority of her sentence before she herself was released in time to see the Denver Broncos and her son make their run to Super Bowl 50. And it may just be that Super Bowl victory, which prompted a trip to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., that saved Minnie Pearl Thomas.
When the Broncos traveled to The White House in early June, Thomas delivered a handwritten letter to the commander-in-chief that thanked him for commuting his mother's sentence, while also advocating a similar course of action for his grandmother.
"I still remember when we were at the White House, I was talking about my mom," Thomas said. "I was saying thank you and the fact that he mentioned my grandmother, I knew something was going to happen.”
And, as he just learned today, he was right.
In a few weeks, Minnie Pearl will leave federal prison and join a halfway house. On Dec. 1, she will be granted her full release.
In a matter of mere months, the life that Demaryius Thomas once had ripped away from him will finally return. This time, however, will be free of hardship.
“It means the world. I think that’s why I work so hard at what I do—to be able to play as long as I can to help my family out so that we won’t have to go back and be in the situation that we were in back then.”
E:60 chronicled Demaryius Thomas' life story in "No Doubting Thomas", as seen below.
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Will Keys is an Analyst for Mile High Huddle. You can find him on Twitter @WillKeys6.