Demaryius "Bay-Bay" Thomas was a beloved player on the Flats by fans and teammates alike. He made it to the NFL as a wide receiver after playing in a run-based offense in college -- something we all know by now to be impossible. (That was sarcasm.) He's made plays in the NFL that have won playoff games and have made history, all the while establishing himself as one of the most dangerous receivers in the league and one of the better-known players in the league.
So, yes, Bay-Bay was an amazing player at Georgia Tech, is an amazing player now in the NFL, and is a pretty fantastic person in general, to boot. I don't know about you, but I get a small sense of pride every time the Broncos are on TV, just knowing that he represents my alma mater in the best of ways.
What I wasn't fully aware of, though, is just how amazing it is that Thomas is that amazing. In other words, not only is Thomas an amazing football player, but he overcame huge odds to become the player that he is. In a recent longform article done by ESPN, Thomas's troubled upbringing is outlined in incredible detail. There are heartbreaking moments throughout, including ones involving his mother and grandmother, as they went through legal issues together. Thomas ended up with his father away as a member of the military, his mother and grandmother in jail on drug charges, and with multiple young siblings to care for, all while still in middle school.
And even still, he became an outstanding athlete, but more importantly became an outstanding person that I'm proud to say played for my school.
The article is long with a lot of sad parts, but an awesome story that only improved my already-high opinion of Thomas. I'd highly recommend giving it a read.
Thank you, Demaryius Thomas, for your outstanding representation of my alma mater in every phase of your life.