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One month ago tomorrow, the Denver Post ran a lengthy story on Broncos cornerback Darrent Williams, the team's second-round draft pick in 2005. In that interview, part of a series of get-to-know-your-Broncos pieces appearing in that paper, Williams spoke at great length about his turbulent upbringing in Fort Worth and mentioned how he hoped to return to his hometown in the offseason to help kids caught up in the thug life. Now, of course, Williams will not have that chance: After a New Year's Eve party, Williams was riding in a white H2 Hummer limousine when he and two friends -- an unideitified man and woman -- were hit by a drive-by shooter. The 24-year-old Williams, who has a 7-year-old son and a 4-year-old daughter who live with their mother in Texas, was killed.
The Post story provides the best look at Williams' young life I've found in the last 24 hours. He talks about playing ball at O.D. Wyatt High School in Fort Worth, where he played cornerback and returned punts and, says here, as a senior was named 7-4A Defensive Most Valuable Player. But more important, Williams also addressed growing up with gangster buddies in Fort Worth -- and how a preacher and his coaches changed his life, which was ended just as the new year was beginning. Said Williams in December:
"I went to church one day and the preacher said something about praying every night. He said: 'I know a lot of you go home and get drunk or whatever. But even if you don't have a simple life, try every day to pray to the Lord. Get a relationship with Him.' And I started doing that. I started praying every day at my home, and even though I wasn't going to church all the time, I started believing more, and I think that's what stopped me from going down the wrong road."
The irony is lost on no one. --Robert Wilonsky