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How Broncos players, fans remembered Demaryius Thomas on Sunday

The Denver Broncos held special tributes both inside and outside the stadium.

DENVER — The number 88 was all over Empower Field at Mile High Sunday afternoon, both on the field and in the stands.

The Broncos and their fans were paying tribute to Demaryius Thomas, who died Thursday at age 33.

The team held special tributes both inside and outside the stadium. Outside, the Broncos set up a memorial where fans wearing Thomas' number gathered to share stories about interactions they had with him. 

"Shed a few tears the last couple of days watching highlights of him and seeing just everything he was, the person he was, and how good of a guy he was off the field and stuff," Broncos fan Keith Banks said. "That's why I was here. I'm here to support him. Just wanted to show him my respects. It's a real tough day." 

Credit: Drew Litton

Banks couldn't help but reflect on how young Thomas was. He passed away at 33, just weeks away from his 34th birthday.

“This is kind of a shot of reality that, you know, this is just a game," he said. "There’s so much more in life to be grateful for, and tell people you love them.”

The Broncos wore number 88 on their helmets for their Sunday game against the Lions. Thomas' number was painted near the corner of the end zone where he finished the 80-yard touchdown on the first play of overtime in the Broncos' 2012 playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. 

Sunday's game began with a prearranged tribute to Thomas. The Broncos went on the field for their first offensive play with only 10 players. The missing player was the X receiver spot that Thomas held for nine seasons. The Broncos were formally penalized for delay of game, but the Lions declined the penalty. 

The Broncos' top receiver, Courtland Sutton, then ran out from the sideline to the X receiver spot. 

The Broncos won the game 38-10, moving them to 7-6 on the season. One of the game balls went to Thomas' family. 

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