Broncos star Demaryius Thomas ready for reunion with mom
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) Demaryius Thomas will celebrate his mother's freedom and treat her to her first NFL game Sunday when the Denver Broncos play the Pittsburgh Steelers.
It'll be the first time Katina Smith has seen her son play football in person.
Smith was released from a federal prison in Florida last summer when President Barack Obama commuted the sentences of 46 non-violent drug offenders.
After her release from a Georgia halfway house in November, she had a 60-day travel restriction, so she was unable to attend any games during the season.
''I know she'll be excited,'' Thomas said earlier in the week. ''It would mean a lot to see her first game live.''
And for Thomas to see his mother for the first time out from behind bars since her conviction in 2000.
Earlier this season, Thomas spoke about how he's been looking forward to this reunion for so very long.
''I know that it'll be emotional,'' he said. ''I'm sure that I'll break down and start crying. I'm sure that she will, too.''
Smith was convicted on drug trafficking charges for her role in a crack cocaine ring she and her mother, Minnie Pearl Thomas, operated out of their Georgia home.
Thomas' father was serving in the Army and stationed in Kuwait when his mother and grandmother were arrested in 1999. Thomas, 11 years old at the time, went to live with an aunt and uncle, Shirley and James Brown, a Baptist minister who lived six miles away.
Thomas took up football to stay off the streets and out of trouble. He went on to play at Georgia Tech and was a first-round draft pick by Denver in 2010. Last summer, he signed a five-year extension worth $70 million a few days after his mother called with news of her commuted sentence.
Earlier this season, Thomas said his mother wanted to see him play in person and race him.
''She thinks that she can outrun me for some reason,'' Thomas said. ''That's all that she's been talking about. The other thing was that she wanted to get a Walkman. People don't even use a Walkman anymore. We're going to try and get her some music on her new phone that she has.''
When she was incarcerated at the Federal Correctional Institution in Tallahassee, Florida, Smith and her mother would watch Broncos games on the community television set wearing No. 88 ''jerseys'' they'd stitched out of tape on their prison-issued uniforms.
Thomas has talked about how nice it is to see her in photos wearing his authentic replica jersey now that she's out of prison.
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