President Obama’s momentous commuting of 46 drug offenders made political history as he has now given the largest single pardon since Lyndon B. Johnson in the 1960s. Among this list of federal prisoners freed was Katrina Smith, mother of Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas.
Smith was convicted of narcotics trafficking in 1999, and was scheduled to be released in 2017, according to USA Today. She was arrested along with Thomas’ grandmother, Minnie Thomas, a three-time offender who was given a life sentence. Smith refused a lesser sentence after authorities attempted to coerce her into testifying against her mother. Smith has been in prison since her son was 11 years old.
Thomas then took to Facebook to express his gratitude for his mother’s release:
Ahead of the Broncos’ appearance in the 2014 Super Bowl, Thomas spoke about his mother and grandmother, who would be watching the game from prison. He said the two were confident he would play in the coveted game, and noted that them tuning in served as extra motivation, NBC Sports reported.
“They drive me more to know that they’re there and they’re watching me,” Thomas said. “I try to go out there and play my best because they’re going to talk about it to the people in the jailhouse.”
Smith is scheduled for a Nov. 11 release.