Tue Jul 5 1:08pm ET
In this Sept. 16, 2018, file photo, Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (88) runs against the Oakland Raiders during the second half of an NFL football game, in Denver. Former NFL star Demaryius Thomas, who died last December at age 33, had CTE, his family said Tuesday, July 5, 2022. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey, File)
BOSTON (AP) Former NFL star Demaryius Thomas, who died last December at age 33, had CTE, his family said Tuesday.
Boston University CTE Center researchers diagnosed the four-time Pro Bowl wide receiver with stage 2 chronic traumatic encephalopathy following a brain study through the Concussion Legacy Foundation. Thomas' family released the findings of the study.
''Once I became aware of CTE and began to familiarize myself with the symptoms, I noticed that Demaryius was isolating himself and I saw other changes in him,'' Katina Smith, Demaryius' mother, said in a statement. ''He was just so young, and it was horrible to see him struggle. His father and I hope all families learn the risks of playing football. We don't want other parents to have to lose their children like we did.''
Stage 2 CTE is associated with ''progressive behavior, cognitive and mood abnormalities.'' Family members say Thomas developed depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and trouble with his memory in the years before his death. Stage 4 is the most severe stage of CTE and is usually associated with dementia.
''Like so many that have gone before, we found stage 2 CTE in the brain of Demaryius Thomas. The question I keep asking myself is `When will enough be enough?' When will athletes, parents and the public at large stop ignoring the risks of American football and insist that the game be changed to reduce subconcussive hits?'' said Dr. Ann McKee, chief of neuropathology for the VA Boston Healthcare System and director of the BU CTE Center and VA-BU-CLF/UNITE Brain Bank.
CLF co-founder and CEO Dr. Chris Nowinski arranged the study through Thomas' family.
''The football community would have no idea why so many former players struggle with neurological disorders after their career without the families who say yes to brain donation, so I want to thank Bobby Thomas and Katina Smith - and all families - for their trust in Dr. McKee and this team,'' said Nowinski, a former football player at Harvard. ''I hope this is a wake-up call to high profile current and former NFL players that CTE is rampant among them, and they need to get involved in creating real solutions. CTE should be their number one off-the-field issue.''
Thomas is one of more than 300 former NFL players who have been diagnosed with CTE by McKee and the BU CTE Center research team.
Thomas' cause of death has not yet been identified. In 2021, Thomas began experiencing seizures. McKee told ABC News she believes the seizures were due to severe traumatic injuries off the football field, including a car wreck and a fall on stone stairs.
''CTE itself does not cause death. You don't die from CTE. What CTE does is it changes your behavior and your personality,'' McKee said.
Thomas played 10 seasons in the NFL for the Denver Broncos, New York Jets, and Houston Texans. He won a Super Bowl with the Broncos and Peyton Manning following the 2015 season.
Thomas had 724 catches for 9,763 yards and 63 touchdowns.
Dynasty | Eagles running back Miles Sanders could be primed for a "monster year" if he can remain healthy Dynasty Analysis: That statement could define Sanders' career thus far. Instead, the running back continues to slide down dynasty rankings due to his inability to remain on the field. But, once again, it's Sanders who has been standing out at camp and, as of this writing, he remains healthy. The team also will rely on Boston Scott and Kenneth Gainwell behind Sanders, either of which could play a prominent role if Sanders finds his way to the trainer's table as has become the expectation. Undrafted rookie Kennedy Brooks has also been mentioned and has upside as a potential three-down capable back should lightning strike. For Sanders, DLF's RB28, has the ability to well outplay his ranking but dynasty coaches are clearly in "prove it" mode.
Dynasty | Eagles receiver Jalen Reagor is in good shape and has been consistent in camp Dynasty Analysis: The third-year receiver is in a true make or break season and is fighting to be the WR3 with Quez Watkins. For Reagor's first two seasons, inconsistent routes, drops and inability to separate from press coverage were all too common as the former Twitter darling began to slip down rankings. Now ranked as DLF's WR101, he's in danger of falling completely from the dynasty radar and may have upside appeal given his low ranking and expectations.
Dynasty | 49ers second-year running back Trey Sermon has improved Dynasty Analysis: Sermon was a fast-riser following his 2021 draft selection but quickly fell out of favor in the Bay Area and, subsequently, in dynasty as well. The 23-year-old is found as DLF's RB55 and is buried on the 49ers depth-chart though still seems to be in the mix for a role behind starter Elijah Mitchell, the surprising 2021 sixth-round rookie who won the starting job outright, handily beating out Sermon. Sermon has a long road to any fantasy viability and any acquisition will require significant patience and may not be rewarded until his next contract. He's a cheap deep-roster stash for patient dynasty coaches.
New York Giants running back Antonio Williamsconcluded Thursday's preseason win over the New England Patriots with 61 rushing yards and a touchdown on a team-high nine carries. The 24-year-old is listed as the No. 4 running back on the depth chart of the New York Giants, so he doesn't provide any value in fantasy football unless multiple injuries occur. Seeing that Williams is buried behindSaquon Barkley,Matt Breida, andGary Brightwellon the depth chart, it isn't a guarantee for him to even make the 53-man roster for the Giants. That being said, a strong showing from Williams on Thursday does increase his chances of potentially climbing up the depth chart. Fantasy managers should monitor Breida's status with the team to determine whether or not Williams could become a backup option to Barkley.
New York Giants quarterbackDaniel Jones and the starting offense played the entire first quarter in Thursday's preseason 23-21 win over the New England Patriots. Jones finished with 69 passing yards and six rushing yards while completing six of his 10 aerial attempts. The Giants moved the ball pretty well, and they likely would've scored a touchdown on the first drive if Kenny Golladaydidn't drop a third-down pass. With the arrival of former Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator Brian Daboll, there are higher expectations for Jones and New York's offense in 2022. Despite Jones not being the most prolific passer, he does give late-round upside at the quarterback position due to his ability to create with his legs. It was a solid start to the preseason for Jones, as it remains to be seen how much action he'll see in Week 2 of the preseason against the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Giants signed quarterback Tyrod Taylor as the backup to starterDaniel Jonesthis offseason. In Taylor's preseason debut for the Giants, he aired it out for 129 yards and a touchdown while completing 13 of his 21 pass attempts. The veteran signal-caller helped New York secure a victory over the New England Patriots in the exhibition contest on Thursday night. It is a do-or-die year for Jones in 2022 as he enters his fourth year in the NFL. Suppose Jones fails to perform well for an extended period during the regular season. In that case, Taylor could instantly become a viable streamer at the quarterback position in fantasy football due to his dual-threat upside.
New York Giants wide receiver Collin Johnsonsurprisingly led all wide receivers on the team in receptions and yards in Thursday's preseason victory over the New England Patriots. The former fifth-round pick hauled in seven passes for 82 yards on eight targets. Johnson saw a decent amount of action with the starters on Thursday due toKadarius ToneyandWan'Dale Robinsonbeing inactive. Once Toney and Robinson see the field,Kenny Golladay, Toney, and Robinson will be the top three wideouts forDaniel Jonesto target in the passing game. Not to mention,Saquon Barkleywill have a decent-sized role in the aerial attack out of the backfield. It will take an injury to one of Golladay, Toney, Robinson, and potentiallyDarius Slaytonfor Johnson to be relevant in deeper fantasy football leagues.
New York Giants wide receiverRichie JamesJr. corralled three receptions for 44 yards and a touchdown in Thursday's 23-21 preseason win over the New England Patriots. The Giants were withoutKadarius ToneyandWan'Dale Robinson in Thursday's preseason opener, leaving more opportunities for the other wideouts on the roster. James was among the wide receivers to take advantage of more playing time. The 26-year-old was second in the receiving yards and caught a seven-yard touchdown strike from Tyrod Taylor in the second quarter. He is currently buried deep on New York's depth chart, with Kenny Golladay, Toney, Robinson,Darius Slayton, andCollin Johnsonseemingly ahead of him. If Slayton or Johnson were to be released or traded, there could be an opportunity for James to see the field on offense. But unless any roster moves happen, it's hard to imagine a scenario where James is worth rostering in fantasy football this season.
Dynasty | Steelers rookie receiver George Pickens has been a star in training camp Dynasty Analysis: Pressed into more first-team work due to the recent hold-in of Diontae Johnson and a minor inury to Chase Claypool, Pickens has soaked up the snaps and responded well. The author went as far to say: "Honestly, I've never seen a rookie this good this early. We all know he has to transfer that to preseason games, but I would be shocked if he didn't." It wasn't long ago that the team was saying Pickens wasn't expected to be leaned on in his rookie season but it seems his athletic profile and play have just been too good to keep off the field. Expectations must be kept in check for the rookie and DLF's WR43, but his fast start and impact thus far in training camp are positive signs not only for his rookie year impact, but his long term dynasty potential.
Dynasty | Ravens rookie tight end Isaiah Likely produced 44 yards on 4-of-4 receiving in his first game action of 2022 Dynasty Analysis: It was a good start for the rookie who didn't play with the starters on Thursday night. We normally wouldn't highlight the play of a backup tight end but Likely has been said to have a big role in 2022 as the Ravens return to a run-first scheme and will rely on two tight end sets early and often. Mix in the fact the team has few proven receiver assets behind sophomore Rashod Bateman, somewhat unproven himself, and Likely could see material targets. Unranked on DLF's tight end rankings, the rookie plays in a tight end friendly system and could factor heavily should starter Mark Andrews suffer an injury.
Dynasty | Veteran Steelers backup quarterback Mason Rudolph has been the best of the group during training camp Dynasty Analysis: While Mitchell Trubisky is said to still be the expected starter come week one of the regular season, it's Rudolph who has been the most accurate and most consistent thus far in camp. Neither quarterback factors highly in DLF's dynasty rankings but Trubisky has been the late-round flyer on the chance he can hold off rookie Kenny Pickett for the entirety of 2022. Instead, Rudolph could be a sneaky acquisition for deep-roster superflex players on the chance he sees time with the first-team during the regular season. In either case, it's the rookie Kenny Pickett who should be targeted for the long term.
Tennessee Titans running back Hassan Haskins carried the ball six times for 19 yards and added three receptions for 29 yards in his preseason debut on Thursday. The fourth-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft will look to build on a decent showing in his first game, as he looks to earn playing time in a backfield that features Derrick Henry and Dontrell Hilliard above him on the depth chart as of now. The 22-year-old could be on the fantasy radar in deeper leagues as some insurance for Henry, but figures to be nothing more than a handcuff option for the time being.
Tennessee Titans wide receiver Racey McMath led the team with 48 receiving yards in Thursday's 23-10 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. It took him all of one target to do this, as the 23-year-old caught a 48-yard bomb from quarterback Malik Willis. McMath turned some heads at training camp, as the LSU collegiate product has been getting open downfield and making plays. He will look to carve out a role in a thin wide receiver room with Robert Woods and Treylon Burks leading the way, but he is off the fantasy radar as of now when you consider Nick Westbrook-Ikhine and Kyle Philips are also in the mix for playing time.
New England Patriots running back Kevin Harris rushed six times for nine yards and a touchdown while catching one of two targets for minus two yards in Thursday's 23-21 preseason loss to the New York Giants. He averaged 1.8 yards after contact per attempt but salvaged his fantasy day by rushing a three-yard score during the third quarter. The sixth-round pick entered the game after J.J. Taylor but surprisingly saw the field before fourth-round pick Pierre Strong Jr. James White retired on Thursday, leaving a void on third downs for New England; the 21-year-old will have a chance to compete for that role. Harris will have to beat Ty Montgomery, Strong, and Taylor for a spot on the 53-man roster.
Tennessee Titans running back Julius Chestnut was impressive in his preseason debut, leading the team with 44 rushing yards on seven carries while adding one catch for 12 yards in Thursday's 23-10 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. The undrafted free agent will look to earn himself a role in the offense, however, it could be a tall task considering he will need to fight off Derrick Henry, Dontrell Hilliard, Hassan Haskins, and Jordan Wilkins for playing time. As of now, it looks like the 21-year-old will at best be the fourth option out of the backfield, putting him well off the fantasy radar for now.
Tennessee Titans quarterback Malik Willis completed 6-of-11 passes for 107 yards and added 38 yards on the ground with a rushing touchdown in his preseason debut on Thursday. His longest completion of the night went for 48 yards, with his largest gain on the ground going for 17 yards. Willis showcased some of his electrifying skills in this one and will look to build on a solid showing in the team's second preseason game against the Buccaneers. However, Ryan Tannehill still figures to be the starting quarterback for the Titans, which only puts Willis on the fantasy radar in dynasty formats as of right now.
Tennessee Titans quarterback Logan Woodside completed 14-of-24 passes for 102 yards in Thursday's 23-10 loss to the Baltimore Ravens. It wasn't the best showing for the 27-year-old, as he threw two interceptions and finished with a 33.7 passer rating. Woodside will look to redeem himself in the team's next preseason game against the Buccaneers, where he will be fighting for the No. 2 position on the depth chart with rookie Malik Willis. Ryan Tannehill is penciled in as the team's QB1, so Woodside is well off the fantasy roster for now.
New England Patriots running back Pierre Strong Jr. rushed six times for 25 yards and caught his only target for no gain in Thursday's 23-21 preseason loss to the New York Giants. He led the Patriots in rushing with 25 yards, but came on the field after J.J. Taylor and Kevin Harris. James White retired on Thursday, opening up vital third-down role. Strong was solid on Thursday, averaging 4.2 yards per carry. The fourth-round pick will look out a role in New England's backfield, but will need to beat out Ty Montgomery, Kevin Harris, and Taylor for a spot on the 53-man roster.
New England Patriots wide receiver Tyquan Thornton caught both his targets for nine yards and a touchdown in Thursday's 23-21 preseason loss to the New York Giants. Patriots wide receivers DeVante Parker, Kendrick Bourne, Jakobi Meyers, and Nelson Agholor got the day off. The 22-year-old caught a two-yard touchdown in the first quarter to put New England on the board. He may have to work his way up to WR4 on the depth chart, but he had a solid debut and is a speculative add in deep-league formats. Thornton was selected in the second round of the 2022 NFL Draft by the Patriots to help stretch the field and will look to build on Thursday's performance in the team's second preseason game against the Carolina Panthers.
New England Patriots running back J.J. Taylor rushed five times for 16 yards and caught his only target for 11 yards in Thursday's 23-21 preseason loss to the New York Giants. With running backs Damien Harris and Rhamondre Stevenson given the night off, Taylor drew the start in New England's preseason opener. The 24-year-old played every snap for the team's first snap in the team's first two drives but didn't do much with his opportunity, averaging just 3.2 yards per carry. Veteran James White retired Thursday, leaving the third-down role up for grabs. Taylor will need to beat out Ty Montgomery, Pierre Strong, and Kevin Harris for a spot on the 53-man roster.