NFL

Darrent Williams’ Life and Promising NFL Career Were Cut Short by Senseless Violence

Darrent Williams’ name isn’t as famous as he had hoped it would’ve been when he entered the NFL. But that may not be the case if things had turned out differently on New Year’s Day 2007. That was the day when Williams was killed in an early-morning drive-by shooting in Denver.

While he was just 24 at the time of his death, Williams had a budding career as a member of the Denver Broncos. His murder made headlines, which may have helped police catch the suspect in the crime. Here’s the story of Williams’ career and death.

Darrent Williams’ NFL career

Darrent Williams taking a photograph for the Broncos
Darrent Williams posing for a Broncos team picture | Getty Images

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Williams attended Oklahoma State before being drafted by the Broncos in the second round (No. 56 overall) of the 2005 NFL draft. He only played two seasons before his death, but the cornerback showed signs of having a promising career.

Williams played in 27 games, starting 23 of them, and recorded six interceptions. He returned those picks for 145 yards, and he scored with two pick-6s. He had four career fumble recoveries and 140 tackles, five of them for a loss.

Given the promising start to his career, with more experience in the league, Williams may have been able to become a star on the defensive side of the ball.

Darrent Williams is shot to death

Williams went to a nightclub on the night of his death, and as he was getting into his Hummer limousine after the club visit the vehicle was sprayed by bullets.

Williams sustained a single gunshot wound in his neck, and he did not survive. At the time of the murder, ESPN reported that police said there was no evidence that Williams was targeted in the attack. That turned out to be true.

Four years later, Bleacher Report was among news sources that reported the bullets used in the fatal attack on Williams were intended for Williams’ teammate at the time, Brandon Marshall, who had a run-in with Little Willie, the murderer-to-be, and his entourage.

That is likely what led to the shooting. Marshall reportedly caused a scene outside the club with a bouncer initially refused him entry. Hours later, the receiver tried to alleviate trouble that Little Willie’s gang members were trying to cause.

Trying to live up to his father’s legacy

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Denver’s KUSA-TV reports Darius Williams says he “definitely … remember[s] crying” on Jan. 1, 2007. He is Williams’ son. Twelve years after his father’s death, Darius and his college football team, Texas A&M University-Commerce, touched down in Denver to play a game against CSU-Pueblo. 

It was the first time Darius had been in Denver since the shooting, and the team’s plane touched down on September 27, Darrent’s birthday. He wears the same No. 27 that his father did as he tries to follow in his dad’s footsteps.

Darius says he was wearing 27 when his father was alive, and he continued with that number following Darren’s death because “he’s a legacy,” and Darius believes he has to “pick it up.” He still watches tape of his father playing football, and he still plays for his dad.

Darius believes his father would be proud of him because he’s doing his thing on the gridiron while getting good grades and staying out of trouble. The younger Williams says he “want[s] to be great” at everything he does, “whether it’s school, football, whatever.”

The bottom line is Darius “just want[s] to be great,” like his father was. Darius will be a redshirt senior in the 2020. He has recorded 63 tackles to date in his collegiate career.

All stats courtesy of ProFootball Reference