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Bronco players to wear 88 helmet decals for Demaryius Thomas

There will also be a moment of silence prior to the Broncos' home game Sunday against Detroit Lions as tribute to the receiver, who passed away Thursday.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Health reasons had prevented Demaryius Thomas from attending a ceremony in his honor as a retired Denver Bronco during a week 3 game against the New York Jets in late September.

With great sadness but also tremendous respect and appreciation to his legacy as a great player and person, the Broncos will pay posthumous tribute to Thomas this Sunday when Denver plays the Detroit Lions at Empower Field at Mile High.

Thomas was found dead by police officers Thursday evening at his Roswell, Ga., home, according to the police report. He was 16 days away from turning 34 years old on Christmas Day.

RELATED: Demaryius Thomas was found unconscious in his bathroom, police report says

To honor one of their top two receivers in team history, the Broncos will have their players wear his No. 88 on a decal that will be placed on the back of their helmets. There will also be a video tribute and moment of silence prior to the game.

>> Video below: Remembering former Broncos player, Demaryius Thomas

RELATED: Former Broncos coaches McDaniels, Tolbert share memories of Demaryius Thomas

"This is a tough day for all us,'' said left tackle Garett Bolles, who was a Thomas teammate in 2017 and half of 2018. "Especially for me and my family. I loved D.T. like a brother. He was one of the first people who reached out to me when I got drafted. Still have his message that I left on my phone and I played it yesterday. My thoughts and prayers go out to him and everybody that was a part of his life."

Broncos head coach Vic Fangio came along the year after Thomas was traded to the Houston Texans midway through the 2018 season but he listened to the 10 players who were his teammates, coaches who coached him and more than 40 employees who were around when D.T.'s smiling face would walk through team headquarters each day.

"Seeing and feeling their reaction, and hurt, tells me what a special player D.T. was,'' Fangio said. "I never had the opportunity to meet him but a special player and special person is obvious by their responses."

Fangio said team president and CEO Joe Ellis addressed the team Friday about what Thomas meant to the organization and running backs coach Curtis Modkins, who helped recruit D.T. to Georgia Tech, also spoke.

Boone, Locke in COVID protocols

Just when there was hope the team had weathered its virus crisis, along came the reality that no group is apparently ever past it. Backup running Mike Boone and special teams standout P.J. Locke were both placed in the COVID-19 protocols Friday. If they tested positive, neither will be available to play Sunday against the Lions and they may well miss the following week's game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Gordon to return

Fangio sounded optimistic running back Melvin Gordon III (hip), outside linebacker Bradley Chubb (shoulder) and defensive lineman Shelby Harris (ankle) would play even though all three will be listed as questionable on the final injury report.

Gordon missed last Sunday's game at Kansas City but he stated optimism this week about playing and with Boone sidelined, it appears Gordon will return to sharing the ball-carrying workload with rookie Javonte Williams.

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