From 2012 to 2014, Peyton Manning and Demaryius Thomas were one of the most lethal QB-WR combos in the National Football League. Over that span they connected for nearly 300 receptions, almost 4,500 yards and 35 touchdowns.

Thomas earned the first three Pro Bowl nominations of his career over those years, and a monster contract this offseason that should keep him in Denver (as a very rich man) for many years.

But 2015 has been a different story for both players. Manning remains sidelined with a torn plantar fascia and his return is extremely questionable at this point. Thomas, meanwhile, has struggled with inconsistent play and was not even named as an alternate to this year’s Pro Bowl.

So it’s understandable that Thomas would need some time to gather his thoughts when asked about Peyton Manning’s future, and the idea that the future Hall of Famer might have played his last football game.

That’s exactly the question that Eric Goodman of Mile High Sports AM 1340 posed to Thomas in the Broncos locker room on Wednesday, alongside his partner Les Shapiro.

“I feel pain for him,” Thomas said. “I don’t know if he’s healthy or not. That’s a head coach’s decision. Mr. Elway’s decision … Hopefully he’ll get another chance.”

But Thomas didn’t end there.

“I don’t know if he’ll try to come back and play somewhere else,” he continued, before eventually summarizing his time playing with Manning as, simply, “wonderful.”

There has been much speculation and drama surrounding what will be next for Manning, but the tone of his leading receiver over the past four years would suggest that their lone touchdown this season – all the way back in Week 3 at Detroit – might be their last together.

It’s that very lack of touchdowns that has been at the root of the problem for the Broncos this year, both with the aging and injured Manning and his replacement, Brock Osweiler. Goodman and Shapiro also asked Thomas about what the offense needed to do to get on track in the second half of games. Over the past three weeks they have yet to score even a single point.

Thomas paused even longer when trying to answer that question. “That’s what we’re trying to figure out this week,” he said finally.

Those two questions will be high atop everyone’s minds as the Broncos enter these final two games of the season, still needing a win (or two) to secure a playoff berth.

Listen to the full interview with Thomas, including a look at the Cincinnati Bengals defense, in the podcast below…

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