Demaryius Thomas' mom, now out of prison, may attend Sunday clash

Broncos' Thomas hoping mom makes first game (3:33)

ESPN Broncos reporter Jeff Legwold discusses the possibility that Demaryius Thomas' mother will finally be able to see him play in person this Sunday against the Steelers. (3:33)

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas has waited more than 17 years for his mother, Katina Smith, to see him play in a football game.

Thomas said that wait might finally be over Sunday for the Broncos' AFC divisional-round game against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Sports Authority Field at Mile High.

"That's what we're working on," Thomas said Wednesday. "Hopefully. That's the goal, though."

In July, President Barack Obama commuted the prison sentences of 46 nonviolent drug offenders, including Smith's. At the time, Obama's 46 sentence reductions were the largest number of sentences commuted by a president since the 1960s.

Thomas was only 11 years old in 1999 when Smith and his maternal grandmother, Minnie Pearl, were each arrested for narcotics trafficking. Smith had originally been scheduled to be released in 2017. Pearl received a life sentence for that crime and remains in prison.

When Smith's sentence was commuted and she was released from prison, she went to a halfway house in Georgia, Thomas' home state. Smith was cleared to leave the halfway house in November, and Thomas has said she has been staying with relatives.

This past summer, just after Thomas signed his five-year, $70 million contract with the Broncos, Thomas had called the prospect of his mother being able to attend one of his games "breathtaking." At first, Thomas believed Smith would be able to attend a game at some point before Thanksgiving, but Smith had to wait 60 days to travel.

"Yeah, she can travel now, so we're working on that," Thomas said after Wednesday's practice. "It would mean a lot. It would be her first game. I would be excited. I know she'll be excited. It would mean to see her first game live."

Thomas said one of the first things he got his mother after her release was a cellphone, and he has said, "She texts all the time, pictures."

Wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, whose locker is next to Thomas', said their Broncos teammates "all know how excited he is for her to be at a game and see him play."