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The Broncos added a pair of receivers in the first four rounds of the draft
this year Eddie Goldman
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 , despite having Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders. Some
think that the team added Courtland Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton with the idea
that the team will use either or both to replace either or both of the
entrenched starters, the Broncos also may be guarding against the possibility
that Thomas decides to call it quits earlier than expected.

As explained by James Palmer of NFL Media, Thomas spent time contemplating
his football mortality in the offseason, primary due to injuries that have
limited his effectiveness.

“For, like, the past two years, for real,
it’s been my neck and my hip,” Thomas told Palmer. “It was just times I couldn’t
compete my best. And you know, sometimes, I remember one game we were playing
the Patriots, and [Logan Ryan] called it out. He said, ‘You’re not yourself.’
And I was like, ‘Man, I’m doing whatever I can to try to get attention.'”

The goal was to keep teams from realizing he wasn’t himself, so that others
on the offense would have an easier time operating. And he’s talking about it
now because he’s finally healthy and reinvigorated.

“Now I’m thinking [about playing] 15 or 16
[years],” Thomas told Palmer. “Like, for real, I’m going to be like Larry
Fitzgerald. Maybe even more. It just depends, you know? I mean Travis
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 , sh-t, tomorrow I could finish my career off of
one crazy injury. But yeah, my mindset has changed.”

Thomas saw his streak of five straight
1,000-yard seasons end in 2017, missing the milestone by only 51 yards. The year
before, he made it by only 83. That’s a far cry from his career best of more
than 1,600 yards. And it’s causing some to wonder whether one of the rookies
will be replacing Thomas sooner than later, something Thomas isn’t happy about
hearing.

“It be hurting me sometimes man,” Thomas told Palmer. “I love my young guys .
. . but they putting my young guys over me already, and they ain’t even played a
down. I be like, all right, cool. It’s whatever. Everybody got their own
opinion. I let it slide. I used to not let it slide. It used to, like, bother my
game. So now it’s like, it is what it is. It’s like, [I have] no cares about it.
I’m going to go out every week, I’m going to go out every day and I’m going to
work my ass off every day to be the best I’m going to be. If my best ain’t good
enough for here, then you never know.”

His best may barely be good enough for the $8.5 million he’s due to earn in
2018, but Thomas will see his salary spike to $14 million in 2019, the final
season of the five-year Womens
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 , $70 million contract he signed in 2015.
Another season south of 1,000 yards may be enough to get the Broncos to give
Thomas a chance to finish his career elsewhere, especially if Sutton and
Hamilton pan out. Thomas realizes that some Broncos fans may be fine with
that.

“[T]here’s some fans here that don’t like me,” Thomas told Palmer. “I don’t
know why. I really don’t know why. Maybe it’s because I don’t cheer, I’ve had my
drops here and there, but I don’t know why. But I’m going to keep playing for
the organization, my teammates and myself. All the other people, I don’t got to
worry about right now. I do it for the fans for sure; they ain’t got to do what
we do from 6 to 8 o’clock. They ain’t got to go out there on the field and do
what we do. I love the city, and I’ve been loving them since I got here. Since
Day One. Since me and [Tim] Tebow [in round one of the 2010 draft]. Since those
days.”

Those days are long gone. And there’s a chance that, after this season,
Thomas will join Tebow in being long gone from the Broncos, unless Thomas is
prepared to slash his salary dramatically. Actually, it’s possible that Thomas
will get a request to do just between now and the start of the regular season,
when his $8.5 million becomes as a practical matter guaranteed.

Editors:

To help you with planning for the NBA Draft in Dallas on June 21 in New York,
here are some of our coverage plans. Please direct questions to Oscar Dixon
(odixon(at)ap.org). Plans subject to change. This digest will be updated. All
times Eastern.

THURSDAY, JUNE 21

BKN–NBA DRAFT

NEW YORK – The Phoenix Suns have the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft, with big
men Deandre Ayton, Marvin Bagley III and Michael Porter Jr. among the top
prospects along with Luka Doncic, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Trae Young. By
Basketball Writer Brian Mahoney. UPCOMING: 750 words, photos. Developing from 7
p.m. draft.

With:

– BKN–NBA DRAFT-THINGS TO KNOW. By Brian Mahoney. UPCOMING: 650
words Kevin
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 , photos by 5 a.m.

– BKN–NBA DRAFT-THE LATEST, real-time updates on the NBA draft

– Individual stories from each NBA team.

FRIDAY, JUNE 22

BKN–NBA DRAFT-HUERTER’S NIGHT

CLIFTON PARK, N.Y. – The Associated Press spends the NBA draft with early
entrant Kevin Huerter, as he waits for the phone to ring and the next step in
his basketball life to be decided. By Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds. UPCOMING:
750 words, photos, video planned by 4 a.m.

SENT PREVIOUSLY:

Features:

BKN–NBA DRAFT-BEST EVER PICKS

Ever wondered who the best picks of the NBA draft were at every draft slot?
Wonder no more. From No. 1 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to No. 30 Spencer Haywood, a look
at the players whose footsteps will be followed by the new NBA players selected
on Thursday night. By Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds. SENT: 1,000 words, photos
on June 20

BKN–NBA DRAFT

NEW YORK – Luka Doncic is already a pro, and he has already won
championships. A day after capping his brilliant stay in Spain with another
title, the Slovenian guard heads the list of international players expected to
be selected in the NBA draft and remains perhaps the most accomplished and
intriguing player in Thursday’s festivities. By Basketball Writer Brian Mahoney.
SENT: 700 words, photos on June 20

BKN–NBA DRAFT-LEBRON FACTOR

CLEVELAND – LeBron James won’t be picking any players in this year’s NBA
draft. Not directly anyway. With the three-time champion’s future still
uncertain, the Cleveland Cavaliers, who have the No. 8 overall pick, enter this
year’s draft not certain if they’re taking a player as a complementary piece to
James, to develop without him or perhaps trade to land another All-Star player.
At this point, everything seems in play. By Tom Withers. SENT: 600 words, photos
on June 19

BKN–NBA DRAFT-HAWKS-TRADE TALKS

ATLANTA – With four picks in the top 34, including No. 3 overall Youth
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 , the Atlanta Hawks are in position to move up
or down in Thursday’s NBA draft. GM Travis Schlenk says he’s getting a lot of
calls but says there is space on the rebuilding Hawks roster to carry four
rookies next season. By Charles Odum. SENT: 550 words, file photos on June
19

BKN–NBA DRAFT-THE INTERVIEW

CHICAGO – When teams are deciding who to take in the NBA draft, the off-court
interview still carries enormous weight. What happens on the floor obviously is
of great importance as well, but the half-hour chats at the draft combine might
be just as critical to teams that need to choose which players merit
multi-million-dollar investments. By Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds. SENT: 800
words, photos on June 18.

BKN–NBA DRAFT-UNDRAFTED LIFE

There’s going to be dozens of players left out in the cold at next week’s NBA
draft, players who will not hear their names called by the time the night is
over. Udonis Haslem knows how they’ll feel. Undrafted in 2002, Haslem – a Miami
native who has spent his entire NBA career with his hometown Miami Heat – has
been in the league longer than just about any other active player. Next season
will be his 16th in the NBA. By Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds. SENT: 850 words,
photos on June 14.

BKN–THE OFFSEASON

There are a slew of questions that need to be answered in the NBA this
offseason. There’s the obvious one: What will LeBron James do? But there are
plenty of others, including the future for Kawhi Leonard, the next moves for
Chris Paul and Paul George, and whether the league has seen the last of Dwyane
Wade. By Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds. SENT: 950 words, photos on June 9.

Profiles:

BKN–NBA DRAFT-SEXTON

NEW YORK – A year ago Collin Sexton had just graduated from high school and
was about to embark on his college career at Alabama. The talented point guard
chose an unusual route to start his journey to the NBA but after only one year
in the shadows of the pre-eminent college football program in the nation Sexton
is only the second Crimson Tide freshman to declare for the NBA draft – and the
first under the one-one-done rule. By Terrin Waack. SENT: 650 words, photos on
June 20

BKN–NBA DRAFT-YOUNG

Trae Young’s numbers in his lone season of college were ridiculous. He led
the nation in scoring and assists. He had NBA stars tweeting about his every
move. But where he’s going to end up in the draft on Thursday night remains a
bit of a mystery, for reasons that Young doesn’t fully understand. By Basketball
Writer Tim Reynolds. SENT: 700 words, photos on June 19

BKN–NBA DRAFT-PORTER

Someone is going to gamble on Michael Porter Jr., and he insists it’ll pay
off. There is an element of danger involved with every NBA draft pick, in that
nothing is guaranteed. There isn’t a player that epitomizes the risk versus
reward thinking in this draft more than Porter Jr., who some think Womens New York Jets
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