|07-04-2008, 09:05 AM||#1|
Draft Defense Early&Often
Join Date: Oct 2004
Darrent Williams honored
Slain Football Hero's Life Honored At Hometown Parade
by Gordon Jackson
Special to the NNPA from the Dallas Examiner
Originally posted 7/2/2008
FORT WORTH, Texas (NNPA) - Darrent Williams’ death will not go in vain; his Fort Worth family and friends are determined to see to that.
The “family” of the slain pro football player and Fort Worth native consisted of several thousand people, who either marched in or witnessed the Inaugural Darrent Williams Foundation/Juneteenth Parade and Festival in southeast Fort Worth on June 14. Several fans and supporters wore the number 27, Williams’ jersey number, as the parade started its two-mile trek down Evans Avenue, from the Mt. Olive Baptist Church to the Evans Plaza.
“D was always the life of everything, he was always the motivator. He didn’t back down to anything,” said Rev. Kevin McAfee, Williams’ boyhood friend. “In life, there are challenges, but you can conquer anything you put your mind and your heart into.
Standing on top of a blue and orange colored Denver Broncos float, Darrent’s mother Rosalind gave thanks to the impressive turnout, during the festival phase of the event while giving the additional reason behind its occurrence outside of honoring her son’s name.
“We’re going to turn this tragedy to a positive,” said Rosalind. “We’re going to work with children. Right here in Funky Town, there are a lot of children who [need] help. That’s what we’re going to be here for.”
The Darrent Williams Foundation & Exhibit was also unveiled as a remembrance especially targeted at the city’s young population.
“We want him to be remembered for the person that he was: a young, intelligent, hard-working young man,” said Denver Broncos linebacker Al Wilson, a teammate of Williams and one of several pro athletes in attendance. “We want the kids to know that, no matter what you do, people are going to always appreciate you and show your love.”
Williams was a former Fort Worth O.D. Wyatt High School cornerback and punt returner, who went on to establish a solid career playing for Oklahoma State University. Although, considered too small at 5 ft., 8 in. and enduring a senior year hampered by injuries, the Denver Broncos drafted Williams in the second round in 2005. By his second season, Williams proved all of his critics wrong, earning a starting cornerback slot. During the 2006 season, he made 86 tackles, snared four interceptions, returning one for a touchdown.
On Jan. 1, 2007, just hours after his last game of the season, Williams was inside his rented Hummer limousine just south of downtown Denver when another vehicle pulled up aside and several shots were fired. One bullet struck Williams in the neck, killing him instantly as he slumped on the lap of teammate Javon Walker. Williams was 25 and left a son, Darius, 8, and a daughter Jaelyn, 5.
The shooting was believed to be spurred from a verbal altercation at a New Year’s Eve party held by Denver Nuggets player and Duncanville native Kenyon Martin in which Williams attended.
Williams was not involved in the altercation.
Willie Clark, a known member of the Crips gang, is the leading suspect in Williams’ death, arrested the next day on other unrelated drug charges. On May 30, the Rocky Mountain News reported they had attained a letter where Clark has confessed to the killing.
While family and friends are interested in seeking justice, they’ve become focused more on developing long-term proactive measures to curb gang and youth violence by giving them more alternatives through the Darrent Williams Foundation.
“We have to keep this young man’s name out there,” said Fort Worth state representative Marc Veasey. “There are a lot of kids who really do need our help. If we can just reach out and help a handful of those kids, we can do so much to help them have a better life.”
“We would hope that the kids would recognize and realize that you only have one life and that this is your life, live it to the fullest, but understand that you have to protect and look out for yourself,” said Wilson. “We all are one people, we are each other brothers and sisters. You have to believe that and live by it.”
Terry Bell was particularly hit hard by D-Will’s death. Her son, Tatum, a former DeSoto High School football star, played three years with Williams at Oklahoma State and two years in Denver. Tatum now plays with the Detroit Lions. Now a close friend of Rosalind, Terry is working closely with her, contributing toward helping her change the environment for inner city youth to the positive.
“That’s basically what the Foundation is for,” Bell said. “We need to let [youth] know that education is the way and that you can achieve any of your goals. You don’t have to stay in the streets and be in gangs.
“So anything you can do to help kids… Let’s motivate their minds to let them know that you can work and earn a living.”
Bell is also a member of the National M.O.M. Squad, an association of mothers of major league athletes and high-profile entertainers. Also present were M.O.M. Squad president JacQuetta Clayton, mother of Baltimore Ravens receiver Mark Clayton, Priscilla Murray, mother of actor/singer Tyrese Gibson, Carolyn Smith, mother of actor/rapper Will Smith, Sherry Williams, mother of Tampa Bay Buccaneer running back Carnell “Cadillac” Williams, Debra Jones, mother of Dallas Cowboy Adam “Pacman” Jones and several others.
The first Darrent Williams Teen Center was opened in Denver on May 28 as a first major step of the Foundation’s mission, with plans of opening up teen centers in every major city in the country. Fundraising efforts are going strong, indicated by a gala and silent auction, held the night before the parade and festival at the Legends of the Game Museum inside the Ballpark in Arlington.
Anthony Criss, Williams’ coach at O.D. Wyatt, strongly encouraged parents to be intricately involved in their child’s lives, specifically in helping them reach their dreams and goals.
“Not every kid is going to have the goals, the dreams, of wanting to be an NFL player,” Criss said. “But there is one thing we all can do. We can walk around the street and be cool and do all of that, but it’s all about education. Have positive dreams and help your children reach their goals.”
Other programs the Darrent Williams Foundation is implementing include a memorial scholarship, annual back-to-school bash, football camp, a “My School is Cool” program and the Aspiring Leaders, Recognizing Education and Developing Youth program, or A.L.R.E.A.D.Y!
|07-04-2008, 10:39 AM||#2|
Join Date: Feb 2008
I sure miss D Will. He was fun to watch and had a great personality. He was a true Denver Bronco. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.
|07-04-2008, 04:17 PM||#3|
Ring of Famer
Join Date: Mar 2004
I almost can't watch either of these without ballin like a little bish
Love yas D.
Last edited by TDmvp; 07-04-2008 at 04:20 PM..
|07-04-2008, 04:23 PM||#4|
Ring of Famer
Join Date: Mar 2004
He just looks so fast .... and so much heart .. at 27 "go fig 27" sec mark during that return it looks like him VS the WORLD and he is winning yall ...
:O) never forget ...
|07-04-2008, 04:33 PM||#5|
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Hot Springs, Ouachitah
His being injured late in 05 really hurt us.He played some, but shouldnt have, he was in pain. (groin)
|07-05-2008, 10:45 AM||#6|
Ring of Famer
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
Darrent was fast... And was learning from the best. His interviews were entertaining too.