Thomas says teammates will help him cope

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas returned to the team Monday, saying being around his teammates again would help him cope with the death of his grandmother.

Thomas had been excused from the Broncos since he had returned to Georgia Thursday after Gladys Thomas died. Gladys Thomas helped raise Demaryius after both his mother and other grandmother went to prison on drug convictions. Demaryius said Gladys had battled Alzheimer's disease for about the last two years.

Thomas was told his grandmother had died the same day -- Wednesday -- as the Broncos formally announced owner Pat Bowlen was stepping down from the day-to-day duties as the team owner because of Alzheimer's.

"I kind of knew, she had kind of the same thing as Mr. Bowlen," Thomas said Monday night. "We knew it was coming soon, but we didn't know how soon. … I went home after the Super Bowl, she was fine, she was talking and then one night she wasn't responding … then she was gone."

Demaryius Thomas arrived back at the Broncos complex with about 30 minutes remaining in Monday's morning practice, but did not participate. Thomas did take part in the evening walk-through.

"It was good, all the guys keep me smiling … just being back out here doing what I love," Thomas said. "It helped big time just to come back, I know she's in a better place. … Just being back has helped."

Broncos head coach John Fox said Monday Thomas "was right on schedule" with what the team had done so far in training camp. The Broncos players are off Tuesday.