On December 31st, 2006, the Denver Broncos lost to the San Francisco 49ers, 26-23 in overtime, failing to clinch a playoff spot in the AFC finishing the season at 9-7 while putting the division rival Kansas City Chiefs in the playoffs. Other then missing the playoffs, the Denver Broncos had to deal with yet another tragic loss; the one of their up-and-coming cornerback Darrent Williams at just the age of 24.
On New Years Eve, Darrent Williams was a victim of a drive-by shooting following an altercation at a nightclub in Denver, where he was at an event celebrating Nuggets forward Kenyon Martin’s birthday. Williams was on the path to stardom, and earned heavy praise from All-Pro cornerback Champ Bailey about the type of person he was from 9News:
“It’s pretty simple,” says Champ Bailey,” We had a guy here, Darrent Williams, that we all fell in love with as far what he did for us, and the type of person he was. To lose him like that at a young age, it’s real senseless.”
Williams was very active in the community, along with contributing to the Boys & Girls Club, helping to raise money for the group. He was on the right track to being one of the top corners in the game, alongside teammate Bailey. Darrent would play in 15 games of the 2006 season, combining for 86 tackles, 75 solo and picking up 4 interceptions.
Five-years later, Willie D. Clark was found guily of the murder and immediately sentenced to a second life term in prison. He would also serve an additional 420 years. It would give Williams family the closure and satisfaction of finally getting the answers to the loss of their beloved son.
Here is more from 9News on the opening of the Darrent Williams Memorial Teen Center:
In 2008, the Darrent Williams Memorial Teen Center opened at the Denver Broncos Boys & Girls Club, located at 4397 Crown Boulevard in Denver’s Montbello neighborhood. The teen center provides a gathering place for youth ages 13-18 where they can socialize, work on homework, plan and implement service projects, participate in college and career preparatory programs, and avoid unsafe activities and influences.
To this day, running back Knowshon Moreno wears the #27 in honor of Williams.
Moreno, who wore No. 24 in college (currently worn by All-Pro cornerback Champ Bailey in Denver), asked the Broncos to wear No. 27. The Broncos then called Williams’ mother, Rosalind Williams, to ask permission to use the number.
After all of these years, it’s hard to forget about Darrent Williams and what transpired on that New Year’s Eve, but I will always remember him every December 31st for the heart and hustle he displayed on the field and in the community. May he rest in peace, forever in our hearts, always United in Orange.