Covering Fort Worth area high schools several years ago, I remember writing a story about a cocky Wyatt defensive back. During my interview with Darrent Williams, I asked him what he saw himself doing in 10 or 15 years.
He leaned back in his chair and said, "Probably retiring from the league."
I remember thinking to myself, "Kid, you better have a back up plan."
But Williams made it to the league, and he was en route to being a career NFL guy. Not a Pro Bowler, but a guy who had a long career. Maybe 10 years.
Two years ago, I saw him in the locker room after the Broncos defeated the Patriots in the AFC playoffs. I recounted the story to him and he flashed the big, half-goofy smile. "I said that?" he asked me.
We talked about his days in Fort Worth, how he was doing now. I asked him if he was taking care of his money. He wanted his mother to retire, but she wouldn't have it. Not yet. She wanted to wait until he reached the NFL pension.
He gave me his cell phone number and told me to call any time; he wanted to keep in touch with Fort Worth.
Darrent Williams was a good guy. He was not a thug, at all. My impression of him was that he had a very difficult time saying no.
I was sick to learn the news when he was shot and killed. I was sick because for his mother, and his friends and family.
And part of me was sick because he was right. He was going to make it.
- Mac Engel