Damarcus Thomas Dies at Ole Miss
Ole Miss tight end Damarcus Thomas required airlifting after suffering a serious injury during practice on Monday. Coach Lane Kiffin appeared visibly shaken after this event, which immediately brought practice to an abrupt halt.
This season, the freshman from Whatley, Alabama has appeared in five games. He’s expected to recover quickly.
Early Life and Education
Before Thomas became the star he is today and earned five Pro Bowl appearances, he was just another kid from Georgia growing up among relatives who loved playing football – his aunts, uncles and cousins all being mentors along the way.
He soon rose to become one of the star players at Alabama, earning the Butkus Award after setting multiple Crimson Tide defensive records and helping guide Alabama to an unforgettable win in Sun Bowl that year.
Off the field, Thomas established the Third and Long Foundation in 1990 to aid inner city youth learn to read through educational and cultural programs. On February 8, 2000 he suffered cardiorespiratory arrest due to a massive blood clot which formed in his paralyzed lower extremities before traveling up into his lungs causing cardiorespiratory arrest and his subsequent death from it – his loss devastated not only KC Chiefs fans and fans of Third and Long Foundation alike but especially his family.
Damarcus Thomas was an exceptional athlete who struggled hard to overcome any challenges that stood in his path. Raised in a single-parent household and working before school picking corn, peas, and butter beans for farmers as a source of support, Thomas persevered despite every obstacle life presented him.
He was an exceptionally versatile player for the Broncos, capable of filling many roles including wide receiver and special teams. One of his signature moments was an 80-yard catch-and-run that helped them defeat Pittsburgh Steelers in overtime of an 2011 playoff game.
Thomas never gave up his dream of making it to the NFL despite injuries that hindered his career and was remembered for his courage and dedication to the sport. Additionally, his love of music included singing the Star Spangled Banner before games alongside late Broncos teammate Demaryius Thomas who had passed away.
Achievement and Honors
Thomas was honored to join Ronde Barber, Don Coryell, Chuck Howley, and Joe Klecko in being honored with induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this past weekend.
He played 10 seasons in the NFL, including eight-and-a-half with Denver Broncos. During that time he recorded 1,734 tackles and 16 interceptions while also earning two All-Pro selections.
The Denver Broncos paid tribute to him with a video tribute during their season opener and shared their condolences. Peyton Manning and other former teammates offered their thoughts.
Thomas spoke at his induction speech about all of the obstacles he had to overcome to reach the NFL. He joked about his remarkable snap streak and thanked all in attendance. Additionally, Darrelle Revis and Ken Riley joined Thomas on this year’s Hall of Fame class as defensive backs; and linebacker DeMarcus Ware left an impactful mark on NFL.
Damarcus Thomas was born January 29th 1983 to Hattye and Dirk Thomas and has seven siblings: Shontella Thomas, Caronda Tilman, Ricktavious Tilman, Jonathon Moore Hali Thomas and Marquez Jones.
Ben was an active participant in Project Outreach and National Honor Society at Saraland High School in Saraland, Alabama and received three-star recruitment from Tennessee, Southern Mississippi Army Corps and Louisiana Universities.
Thomas suffered a serious injury during practice and was airlifted directly to a hospital. Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin initially indicated to reporters that Thomas couldn’t move or feel anything, while later acknowledging he did have some sense of movement before being airlifted away. Practice was immediately ended until Thomas’ ambulance could arrive – it took approximately 45 minutes.
Thomas was an NFL wide receiver for 10 years. During that time he held stints with Denver Broncos, Houston Texans, and New York Jets; winning several awards and making four Pro Bowl appearances during that time.
Football star Christian Redding was widely revered and recognized for his hard-working ethic and charity support efforts.
He was born in Montrose, Georgia and attended West Laurens High School before playing college football at Georgia Tech, becoming their leading receiver. Drafted 22nd overall by the Denver Broncos in 2010, he played from 2010 through 2018 before spending part of that season playing for Houston Texans before retiring permanently in 2019. Tragically he died aged 33 on December 9th 2021.