Peyton Manning funds scholarship honoring Demaryius Thomas

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ATLANTA — Peyton Manning has set up a scholarship at Georgia Tech honoring former teammate Demaryius Thomas.

Thomas died in December from an apparent seizure at his suburban Atlanta home. He was 33.

The PeyBack Foundation, a charitable organization set up by Manning and his wife Ashley, announced that it will fund academic scholarships in the receiver’s name at his alma mater.

The financial aid will be available to incoming freshmen from Laurens County, the central Georgia community where Thomas was born and raised, or surrounding areas.

“Demaryius Thomas was an incredibly talented and unselfish teammate, but more importantly, he was a special person and friend,” Manning said in a statement. “My family and I miss him dearly, and we wanted to honor D.T.’s memory.”

Thomas starred at Georgia Tech from 2006-09 and was a first-round pick of the Broncos. After the team signed Manning at quarterback, Denver reached two Super Bowls and won the championship after the 2015 season.

Thomas was a four-time Pro Bowler who finished his career with 724 receptions for 9,763 yards and 63 touchdowns. He also spent time with the Houston Texans, New England Patriots and New York Jets before retiring after the 2019 season.

“An important part of Demaryius’ legacy was the way he inspired the next generation to pursue their dreams with the same perseverance and determination that defined him,” Manning said. “Through this scholarship to Georgia Tech, Demaryius will have a lasting impact on deserving youth from his hometown area who can follow in his footsteps and accomplish great things in life.”