Broncos’ young cornerback Darrent Williams was taken far too soon on New Year’s Day in 2007. We remember his short but impactful life.
Although New Year’s Day is usually a cause for celebration, it will always be a sombering day for the Denver Broncos and their fans and players. New Year’s Day commemorates the murder of Broncos’ cornerback Darrent Williams, who was just 24 years old at the time of his death.
Today marks 13 years since the tragic shooting of young Darrent Williams, who had so much promise in his NFL career and in his personal life; he left two young children behind at his passing.
Although I was just 11 years old when I woke up to the horrible news on ESPN on New Year’s Day, it is a morning that I will never forget.
Drafted by the Denver Broncos in the 2005 NFL draft as a second round pick, Williams would record his first career interception against the division rival Oakland Raiders, in which his first interception would also prove to be a pick six, quite the accomplishment for the young player.
Williams was proving to be quite the cornerback opposite to teammate and now Hall of Famer Champ Bailey. Broncos Country was ecstatic to see what this cornerback tandem would go on to do together.
However, the aspirations held for Williams would never come to full fruition. Darrent Williams would play his final game for the Denver Broncos on December 31st, 2006- just hours before the young corner’s death. The San Francisco 49ers would defeat the Denver Broncos in overtime, 26-23. This would be the season finale for the Broncos, as they did not qualify for the playoffs.
Following the game, Darrent Williams and a couple of his Broncos teammates, notably WR’s Brandon Marshall and Javon Walker, would attempt a New Year’s party put on by Denver Nugget Kenyon Martin.
Police reports from the Denver PD would later on claim that an altercation occurred at the nightclub where the partied was held, and that Brandon Marshall was one of the participants of said fight. Marshall, Walker, and Williams would leave, and tragedy would soon strike.
A little past 2 A.M, the vehicle containing the three players would be shot up. Williams would be the only victim to suffer fatal injuries, dying in the lap of his friend, Javon Walker.
At the time of his death, Darrent Williams’ children were just seven and four years old. Williams’ death was greatly mourned by the Broncos and the community of Denver. He is still honored by the team on each anniversary of his death.
On March 11, 2010, gang member Willie D. Clark was found guilty of murdering Darrent Williams, and was sentenced to life in prison. (via Wikipedia).
In December 2019, another D. Will made headlines. This time, it was Darius Williams, the son of the late Darrent, who keeps his memories alive through football.
In the 2019 football season, Darius Williams, a red shirt sophomore at Texas A&M-Commerce, would return to Colorado twice to play- his first visits back since his father’s death. “I just try to play for him, man. I feel like he’s playing through me, man. He didn’t get to fulfill his dreams, so he’s playing through me.” (story via CBS Denver).
Each year, the team gives out the Darrent Williams Good Guy Award. This season’s recipient was Justin Simmons, his second time receiving the honor.
Broncos Country will always wonder what could have been if not for that fateful night on New Year’s in 2007. More so, Broncos Country and the city of Denver grieves the loss of a teammate, father and friend.
Darrent Williams will always be remembered for his mentality, his infectious smile, his tenacity, and his fiery passion.
A Mile-High Salute to the late and great Darrent Williams. You are not forgotten, D-Will.