Former Marlington standout Dymonte Thomas returns home with the Denver Broncos for Thursday's Pro Football Hall of Fame Game

Expect a large and loud cheering section for Denver Broncos defensive back Dymonte Thomas on Thursday night in the Pro Football Hall of Fame Game. The phone has been ringing off the hook for the former Marlington High School standout after it was announced Denver would play Atlanta in the annual game at Tom Benson Stadium.

"I've gotten a lot of ticket requests," Thomas said with a laugh. "Everyone keeps calling me and texting me about tickets. I won't be surprised if the city of Alliance fills half the stands for this game judging by the response I've gotten."

That type of response would be overwhelming to some. The third-year safety out of Michigan is grateful for it.

"It's a blessing to me," Thomas said. "I come from a small city and it feels like everyone is rooting for me and supporting me. I'm very excited about the opportunity to play in front of all of them."

Thomas looks forward to checking out the changes made to Benson Stadium since he has been away. He was a four-time Canton Repository All-Stark County pick, starring at both defensive back and running back for Marlington. He helped the Dukes win at least eight games all four of his seasons and reach the playoffs three times, including in 2010 when they went 10-0 during the regular season and made it to the state semifinals.

"I haven't played in that stadium in a very long time," Thomas said. "I'm excited to see the changes they have made. It's just cool to be able to come back and play in front of my hometown again. ... I know not everybody (can) get tickets and flights to come out to Denver to watch so I'm glad they'll be able to come out and see me play in Canton."

The game also gives Thomas a chance to showcase his skills to the new Bronco coaching staff. Vic Fangio took over for Vance Joseph after the Broncos suffered the only back-to-back losing seasons in the history of the ownership of 2019 Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinee Pat Bowlen.

"I love the new coaching staff," Thomas said. "They are great guys. I'm excited to take on this season with them. I think we have a great season ahead of us."

A new coaching staff means a new defense. Thomas likes how he is fitting into the scheme of defensive coordinator Ed Donatell.

"I feel like it's one of the best systems we've had since I've been here," Thomas said. "I get to have my eyes on the quarterback more than I have in the past so I'm excited about that."

Thomas has shown he knows how to make plays on high profile quarterbacks given the opportunity. He intercepted Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield in Week 15 last year and also sacked reigning NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes of the Chiefs in Week 8. He hopes he has the chance to make similar impact plays again in 2019, but his focus now is just on training camp and the preseason opener.

"As always, my goal at this time of the year is to just make the team," Thomas said. "I really don't think about anything else."

 

Reach Cliff at 330-580-8494 or cliff.hickman@cantonrep.com

On Twitter: @chickmanREP