It goes back to the values instilled in him by his aunt and uncle, Thomas said.
"It made me a stronger man and a better man just being in that atmosphere, working harder, knowing that nothing's going to be easy."
Brown said it wasn't easy taking in another child with three kids of his own and just one paycheck, but he found ways to make it all work. He also found the money to keep Thomas involved in sports.
"I truly believe his Christian upbringing and sports, playing basketball and football, contributed to him releasing a lot of the anger and anxiety that he had in him," Brown said. "He left it on the basketball court, on the football field so it didn't get bottled up in him."
Thomas led all NFL receivers in TD receptions (14) and yards after the catch (718) this season while grabbing 92 passes for 1,430 yards. In the playoffs, he has 15 receptions for 188 yards and TDs in both of Denver's wins.
"Watching him mature as a football player and as a person has been tremendous," teammate Eric Decker said. "The guy has so much talent."
Brown says he just wanted Thomas to grow up to be a good man, never thinking he would become a star.
"The blessing has been just seeing the product of how we took this young man who was lost — well, trying to find his way — and we were able to nurture him and give him what he needed," said Brown, who will be in the stands Sunday. "When Demaryius was staying with us, I never dreamed that he would be in the Super Bowl. I just wanted to make sure the anger in him didn't send him down the wrong path like his mama and grand-mama had gone down."
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org
Follow AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton