Joe Judge’s NFL career crossed paths with Demaryius Thomas, the former NFL wide receiver who died Thursday at the age of 33 of an apparent seizure. Thomas played for the Patriots for part of the 2019 season, when Judge was the special teams coordinator in New England.
“You take all of his athletic accomplishments, and they don’t hold a candle to the kind of person he was,’’ Judge said. “Just character and just a quality human being. I got to coach him for a brief period of time, but I’d say the impact he had on me as a coach, my approach to the game with a lot of the players, it was profound.’’
Judge said Thomas emerged as a team leader with the Patriots even though he at times was injured and unable to play. Tyke Tolbert, the Giants wide receivers coach, worked with Thomas for several seasons with the Broncos.
“Tyke’s a guy who was extremely, extremely close with D.T. — extremely close with him and it affects his entire family,’’ Judge said.
“You hear news like that, there’s no good way to take it. It kind of makes you reflect back on how fortunate we are for any opportunity we have every day and you never really know when it ends.’’