DT gets game ball from Manning as gift for mom

Posted at 7:29 PM, Jan 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-01-18 13:06:43-05

Demaryius Thomas won bigger than anyone else on the field Sunday.

Following a 23-16 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning gave him the game ball. The ball wasn't meant to go to Thomas.

Katina Smith, Thomas' mom, will keep it. Smith saw her son play professional football in person for the first time at the playoff game.

Manning was seen on camera handing the ball to Thomas, and they exchanged a quick hug.

USA Today reporter Lindsay Jones says Thomas reunited with his mom in the Sports Authority Field hallways and gifted her the football.


"Thomas and his mom were swarmed by teammates and their families. Lots of hugs and pictures. She grasped his arm and they left the stadium," Jones said in a tweet.

Smith left federal prison last summer when President Obama commuted sentences of 46 non-violent drug offenders. She had a travel restriction following her release from a halfway house in November.

"I know that it'll be emotional," Thomas said earlier this season about his mom attending a game. "I'm sure that I'll break down and start crying. I'm sure that she will, too."