ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Demaryius Thomas used the Denver Broncos’ celebratory White House visit in June to deliver a handwritten note to President Barack Obama thanking him for commuting Thomas’ mother’s drug sentence last year and then asked him to do the same for his grandmother.
The Broncos wide receiver is ready to pen another thank you note after he was told the president fulfilled his wish. Minnie Pearl Thomas was among 214 federal inmates whose sentences were cut short Wednesday by Obama.
“I’m kind of jacked up right now. I don’t really know what to say,” Thomas said after the Broncos’ morning workout. “I kind of just want to talk to my granny. I haven’t talked to her in a couple of weeks. I’m excited for her.”
Thomas’ grandmother, who was serving life for a drug offense, is to be released on Dec. 1.
Last year, Obama commuted the sentence of Thomas’ mother, Katina Smith, as part of his push to reduce the prison population of non-violent drug offenders. She was in attendance when the Broncos defeated Carolina 24-10 in Super Bowl 50, and she was on Thomas’ mind when Obama hosted the champions in June.
After briefly talking with the president, Thomas had a sense his grandmother had a chance to have her sentence shortened.
“I still remember when we were at the White House, I was talking about my mom and I was saying thank you,” Thomas said. “The fact that he mentioned my grandmother, I knew something was going to happen.”
Smith was convicted on drug trafficking charges for her role in a crack cocaine ring she and her mother operated out of their Georgia home.
Minnie Pearl Thomas, 60, and Smith shared a cell in a federal prison in Florida before Smith’s sentence was commuted last summer. Smith spent time in a halfway house before being released in November.
“She was sad when my moms left,” Thomas said of his grandmother. “She used to cry when she was in there by herself. I’m excited for her and I want to thank Obama for what he did for her and everyone else.”
Patrick Smyth, the Broncos’ vice president of public relations, gave Thomas the news after he finished lifting weights.
“It was a shock. I had to go to my phone and make sure it was true,” he said. “He showed me the text messages, ‘Minnie Pearl Thomas, Demaryius Thomas’ grandmother, got commuted.’”
Thomas said he believes his grandmother will spend time in a halfway house before going back to Georgia on Dec. 1.