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    didn't know if this had been posted yet, i like the ending about DWill turning his neighborhood into Broncos country! That made me smile.

    Trip to funeral cathartic for Williams' anguished team
    By ARNIE STAPLETON, AP Sports Writer
    January 8, 2007

    A person wearing a Denver Broncos No. 27 Darrent Williams football jersey arrives at the Great Commission Baptist Church for the memorial service honoring Williams, in Fort Worth, Texas, Friday, Jan. 5, 2007.
    AP - Jan 5, 10:15 pm EST
    More Photos

    FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) -- The anguished Denver Broncos came to Darrent Williams' hometown to help his community heal. They left knowing it had really been the other way around.

    "You could still feel his spirit, you could still feel the stories," coach Mike Shanahan said as Williams' gold casket was carried away in a white horse-drawn carriage following the three-hour service Saturday. "More important than that, the message was, you know what, he's in a better place.

    "His spirit will never die."

    Shanahan said the trip to Williams' funeral not far from the tough streets the charismatic 24-year-old cornerback both escaped and embraced helped assuage the overwhelming grief that permeates his team as police in Denver look for Williams' killer.

    One of the league's most promising young defensive backs, Williams was struck once in the neck and two other passengers were wounded when at least 14 shots were fired into the stretch Hummer that had just left a New Year's Eve party at a nightclub in downtown Denver. Police have no suspects but do want to talk to a man in custody.

    "I know the Denver police are working extremely hard on ... finding the perpetrator," Shanahan said. "We've given them full support. I know they're doing everything they can and I'd be surprised if something's not found out here in the very near future."

    Team owner Pat Bowlen thanked Williams' mother, Rosalind, for visiting the team headquarters last week for a private memorial in which players got to express how much her son's short life touched theirs.

    "Thanks so much for giving us Darrent for two years," he said. "I'm so sad he's gone, he was a great young player and we'll miss him."

    Linebacker Al Wilson also thanked her for helping him: "To be around you gave me more strength than I ever thought I had."

    The solemn service was punctuated with laughter whenever somebody repeated Williams' favorite catch phrase, "All Ready!" which he would stretch out to "Allll Ready!"

    It was something the Broncos' defensive backs would holler after every practice and sometimes in the locker room.

    "I have no idea what it meant, but believe me he got a kick out of a 35-year-old white guy saying 'All ready' to him," safety John Lynch.

    Lynch called Williams' mother up in front of the church where the defensive backs huddled together one last time: "One, two, three. Allll ready!"

    Williams also popularized the 'fro-hawk,' the style in which he braided his hair, cornrows on the sides, bushy on top.

    Easter Williams, center, grandmother of Denver Broncos football player Darrent Williams, walks away from his casket escorted after viewing her grandson's body during a memorial service at the Great Commission Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas, Friday, Jan. 5, 2007.
    AP - Jan 5, 10:06 pm EST
    More Photos
    Teammates and coaches who spoke at the funeral vowed to carry on Williams' legacy of steering kids off the streets and into sports and school.

    "People aren't thinking about football right now. They're not thinking about the contributions he made on the field," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said. "They're just thinking about the great things he did in their life and the wonderful contributions he made to peoples' lives."

    Players and coaches touched Williams' casket on their way out of the overflowing 2,500-seat Great Commission Baptist Church before boarding buses for the airport and a charter flight back to Denver.

    Steven Johnson, principal at O.D. Wyatt High School, where Williams starred before becoming a standout at Oklahoma State, said he had been planning for months a "D' Will Day" to honor Williams and his contributions to the community.

    Now, it will be a memorial instead.

    "The kids in our community believe at an early age that they can make it playing sports," Stevens said. "We all know the percentages are real long. But even I lived out my dreams through D' Williams."

    At the red-and-white house Williams spent his childhood in a neighborhood filled with thick bars covering most windows, family and friends gathered over the weekend to remember all the good he had done for them and all the promise that was lost to a gunman's bullet that stole the father of two young children.

    Besides making the big-time and never getting bigheaded about it, Williams had achieved the impossible in Dallas Cowboys country: turning an entire neighborhood into Broncos territory.

    "I don't think you'd find a single Cowboys item around here," 25-year-old cousin Monte Wayne said, recounting how Williams had given him a No. 27 jersey for Christmas.

    "Man, this is hard." Wayne said. "I'm going to miss those Sundays."

  • #2
    Thanks for posting this.


    • #3

      I really liked Lynches part.

      "Allllll ready!" Man I miss you Darrent. The smiles you brought to us.
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