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Darrent Williams Memorial Teen Center honors fallen teammate

DENVER -- Darrent Williams spent many hours as a youth in Boys and Girls Clubs in the Fort Worth, Texas, area.

On Thursday, the Denver Broncos honored the late cornerback with the official opening of the Darrent Williams Memorial Teen Center for young residents in Denver.

Williams, 24, was killed in a drive-by shooting on Jan. 1, 2007 that remains unsolved.

"This represents him," Denver cornerback Domonique Foxworth said. "He would have been very excited and the whole community would have been proud of him."

The Teen Center, a collaboration between the Broncos and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver, was made possible by the generosity of several community partners, including the city and county of Denver.

"I know he has a smile from ear to ear and he knows that he's got true friends," Broncos coach Mike Shanahan said. "Take a look at what our players have done in his memory, you take a look at the coaching staff, the support staff and so many people have gone out of the way to make this possible."

Foxworth said the project took more than a year to complete. It began the week after Williams died.

Broncos president and CEO Pat Bowlen said the project began in the soberest of moments.

"On that terrible Jan. 1 morning, our organization was in complete disarray, including the owner," Bowlen said. "It was a very sad place and nobody had any answers."

The mood changed, though, with a call from Darrent's mother, Rosalind Williams.

"I can't remember all that she said, but it was like somebody lifted a 1,000-pound boulder off my back," Bowlen said. "And the backs of everybody in the room."

Rosalind Williams' message on Thursday was brief and cut to the core.

"With this step, communities are coming together so no other mother or father has to go through what I'm going through," she said. "I know Darrent is looking down on us and he is still smiling."

Besides Foxworth, Champ Bailey, and Nate Jackson were among the dozen or so Broncos in attendance at the ribbon cutting.

The opening came less than week after a statue of Williams was unveiled on the property.

"I look at the statue there and he looks about 7 feet, 2 inches," Shanahan said. "That's exactly the way he played and the way he looked at himself, even though he was only 5-8."

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press

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