Thomas played a final, desultory season with the Jets, then went home to Georgia, his life at a crossroads. He was not under contract and was unsure about playing during the pandemic, yet he was determined to get another 237 yards to reach 10,000 career receiving yards. So he worked out five days a week, but his comeback was stalled by seizures that began in the fall of 2020.
As the seizures grew in number and intensity, neurologists told him they might be related to stress. The anti-seizure medicine Thomas took made him sluggish, and a second prescription did not stop them, so he tried ozone therapy, a hyperbaric chamber, massages and other treatments that had little lasting impact.
“He spent a lot of money on his body and look what happened, you know?” said Bobby Thomas, who fell into a depression when Demaryius died that deepened as he learned of the severity of his son’s condition.
“I didn’t know that he was that bad off.”
In a video announcing his retirement last June, Demaryius Thomas acknowledged that he was trying to find his way. He said he was still deciding what to do next and looked to build relationships with anyone who could help. “It ain’t easy leaving football,” he said. “Because that’s my main thing, just trying to find self and put out love.”