As soon as he walked into the Denver Broncos Boys & Girls Club’s gymnasium Wednesday afternoon, Emmanuel Sanders’ memories of the late Demaryius Thomas came flooding to the front of his mind.

All of their trips to hang out with the kids. All of their locker room conversations. And all of their on-field success as teammates from 2014-18.

“Man, there are so many incredible times,” Sanders said after his foundation donated jerseys to the club’s youth football team during a ceremony. “It’s one of those things, truthfully, as cool as it is (to be back), it’s hard.”

Calling Thomas, who died last December inside his Georgia home, his “best friend on the Broncos,” Sanders made sure the jerseys had an “88” emblem to honor him.

“I’m always looking up (and asking), ‘What can I do to help more? Guide me,’” Sanders said. “I know right now, right here, (Thomas is) happy at the fact I’m doing this.”

Thomas was a constant presence at the Boys & Girls Club, which opened in 2003. Among the pictures on the gymnasium’s wall was one of Thomas dressed as Santa Claus for a Christmas party.

“I don’t know a person who loved this place more than D.T.,” Sanders said. “The reason why he loved this place is the same reason I loved this place — because it reminded us of ourselves (as kids).”

Thomas was an established player on the Broncos when Sanders signed as a free agent in March 2014. How quickly did he realize his new teammate would also be a great friend?

“We got that established really fast,” Sanders said.

Sanders said during an early practice Thomas pulled him aside to critique — and correct — his upright running style.

“He was always trying to guide me to be the greatest I could be,” he said.

In 2014, Thomas and Sanders combined for 212 catches for 3,023 yards and 20 touchdowns. In the 2015 Super Bowl season, they totaled 181 catches for 2,439 yards and 12 touchdowns.

“Demaryius was ‘Superman,’ but I (was) going to be the best counterpart he ever had and we were able to do that,” Sanders said. “What we were able to accomplish in terms of statistics, find a better duo. That goes to show how special our bond was because we never looked at it as, ‘Oh, I’m No. 1, you’re No. 2.’ We looked at each other as a duo that was going to go win games and try and bring a Super Bowl to the city of Denver and we were able to accomplish that.”

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Footnotes. Sanders, 35, played last year for Buffalo and remains a free agent. Does he want to play this year? Flashing his trademark smile, he said: “We’re going to see.” … The Broncos re-signed veteran tight end Eric Saubert to a one-year contract. Saubert, 28, joined the Broncos in March 2020 and played all 17 games last year (four starts), catching eight passes for 47 yards (one touchdown) in 290 snaps. He also played 302 special teams snaps.

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