Darrent Williams Answers Your Questions

Posted Oct 14, 2005

Rookie cornerback Darrent Williams answers questions from fans.


Darrent Williams
Darrent Williams' rookie season has seen some rapid growth. PHOTO: PHOTO: JAMIE SCHWABEROW / RICH CLARKSON AND ASSOCIATES

No one thought he could do it.

At 5-foot-8, rookie Darrent Williams was told he wouldn’t be anything more than a punt and kick return man in the NFL.

The diminutive cornerback, who got his first start of the 2005 season against the Kansas City Chiefs, proved everyone wrong. 

Williams leads the AFC and is third in the NFL with a 13.3-yard punt return average and is ninth in the conference with a 25.0-yard kickoff return average. His 66 punt return yards in the game against San Diego and 37-yard punt return both top the AFC this season. 

He gave Broncos fans a good look at his abilities in the home opener against San Diego where he returned four punts for 66 yards, including a 37-yarder to set up the go-ahead score.  He also recorded three kickoffs for 64 yards, including a 22-yarder, and made a special teams tackle.  He led the team with 11 tackles (9 solo) and defended a pass on Monday Night Football against Kansas City.

Five weeks into what has already become an outstanding rookie season, Williams took time out to answer your questions.

Matt Sandstead; Colorado Springs, Colo.
How does playing with Champ Bailey make you better?

Darrent Williams
By playing with the best corner in the game, you can learn a lot of things.  You can watch him in practice and when you have a question about anything, he can give you advice.  Just by watching him and seeing some of the things he does, his competitive ways, it will make you better.

Jadd; Des Moines, Iowa
What are the biggest adjustments for you, both on and off the football field, from college to the pros?

Darrent Williams
You have money now and more free time because right after practice, you don’t have to go home and go study or do homework.  With the game, you have to compete because it’s your job.  It’s your job to go out there and compete every play, every game.  You have to learn how to play with injuries and being hurt at this level.

Darell; Davenport, Iowa
What do you feel has been your single most important attribute that has earned you the starting job so far this season?

Darrent Williams
I think my confidence and my competitiveness.  It really doesn’t matter who I’m lining up against.  I’m going to compete no matter who they are.  Whether they catch a pass on me or not, I’m going to make it hard for them.

Sean Jeffrey; Helena, Mont.
How do you cope with ridicule from other players for being smaller?

Darrent Williams
It really doesn’t bother me now.  It used to bother me because I used to put up big numbers, like in college, and guys still weren’t giving me any credit because I was small.  Now I’m in the NFL and competing against these guys and there’s nothing they can say now.  I always keep that chip on my shoulder to stay hungry and go out there and play hard.

Tyson; Filer, Idaho
What kind of tips and pointers has Champ Bailey given you while he is sidelined with injury?

Darrent Williams
Even when he was playing, he was giving me advice before games.  He tells me to take it one play at a time, play hard, watch out for this and that.  He always gives me advice, whether he’s playing or not.

Allen; Martinez, Calif.
Do you at times feel overwhelmed when your job is to cover big-name wide receivers?

Darrent Williams
Not really.  Sometimes, though, I’m covering guys I’ve watched over the past few years and sometimes be stuck in awe before games.  Like, last week I was like “Man, that’s Santana Moss.”  When they line up against me, I try to go out there and have fun, joke around with them and talk to them.  But when the play is going on, I’m out there competing hard against them.

Matt Keller; Denver, Colo.
With your speed and open-field ability, do you think that (Head Coach) Mike Shanahan might try to work you into the offense this year?

Darrent Williams
I hope so.  I had a few plays in college on offense and I played both ways in high school, so I’m used to having the ball in my hands.  When I get the ball in my hands, I can make some things happen.  So hopefully you will!

Mark Myers; Oklahoma City, Okla.
Now that you are playing beside a couple of guys on the Broncos with Oklahoma State ties (Keith Burns, Tatum Bell), what's it like to be on the same pro team with fellow OSU Cowboys?

Darrent Williams
It feels good.  Just knowing that they’ve been the same place I’ve been, it makes us bond closer. 

Jake; Medford, Ore.
When you guys were playing San Diego and you returned the touchdown, how frustrated were you that the play got called back?

Darrent Williams
I kind of was because it was hard for us to score that game, but we finally scored.  I was frustrated because we could have had the lead and been in the position to win the game sooner.  I wasn’t mad.  I got the offense good field position and they went in to score.  I could have had better stats.  I could have had a touchdown next to my name, but it’s cool.  I’ll have another one.

Jay Dennison; Bellingham, Wash.
How difficult of an adjustment has it been in the different climates, between Oklahoma and Denver?

Darrent Williams
It’s really different.  I’d never seen snow like that.  It would snow up in Oklahoma sometimes, but not this early in the year.  I was really surprised.  In Oklahoma, even on hot days, it’s not really that hot.  It’s just the humidity.  It makes it seem like it’s 100 all the time.  It’s better here in Denver, but the only thing I don’t like is the snow.

Craig Sievers; Dallas, Texas
Who has been the toughest wide receiver to cover so far this year?

Darrent Williams
Santana Moss.

Sam Johnson; Grapevine, Texas
Looking ahead in the schedule, who are you looking forward to covering the most?

Darrent Williams
I’d probably say Randy Moss.  He and T.O. are my two favorite receivers.  It’ll be fun to go out there and see how fast he really is.  Everybody says you can’t tell on TV, that you have to see him in person.

Chris Sutphin; Brilliant, Ohio
What team did you cheer for growing up?

Darrent Williams
The Dallas Cowboys.

Jesse Dicks; Denver, Colo.
When covering a player, do like to hide then pop out at the last minute and get the pick or just be tight coverage the whole play?

Darrent Williams
Sometimes I like to hide and get the pick on the run because every time I get an interception, I want to get a touchdown.

Paul; Broken Arrow, Okla.
Do you think OSU will beat Oklahoma in Bedlam this year?

Darrent Williams
I’m going to have to say yes. 

Jeff Manukin; Bridgeport, Ohio
Who has been the most influential teammate of yours, either past or present?

Darrent Williams
Vernon Grant.  He was my teammate in college and he passed away this summer.  I used to get mad at things and he would calm me down.  He played so hard and it made me want to play hard every play.  We were both smaller guys, but we played a lot bigger than what we were.

Andy; Aurora, Colo.
How much friendly competition is there between you and the other rookie corners, and has that heightened since Domonique Foxworth stepped into the starting role the last couple of games?

Darrent Williams
There’s always competition with us, but it’s all fun.  We all wish each other success.  It makes us better.  We know we have to go out there and practice hard every day, because if we don’t, there’s a guy right behind us who can step in and play.

Stephanie; Fort Worth, Texas
How does it feel to prove the people wrong who said you’d never be a starting cornerback in the NFL?

Darrent Williams
It feels good.  It’s just another thing that gave me motivation to come out here and want to practice and play hard every day.  So many people were doubting me because of my height, saying I couldn’t get the job done.  That just gave me motivation.  A lot of people see now that I actually can and now they’re fans.

Marlow Gaskin; Oakland, Ala.
How is your relationship with Lenny Walls after you gained his starting cornerback position?

Darrent Williams
We’re still cool.  We still hang out.  I go to his house and he comes to my house.  It’s not really anything.  Since day one, he’s been giving me advice and things to work on.  He’s still helping me now.  There’s not anything between us.  We’re still good friends.

Rodney Grate; Denver, Colo.
If you could cover any wide receiver in history, which receiver would it be and why?

Darrent Williams
I would say Jerry (Rice), but I already covered Jerry (in training camp).  I’d probably say Cris Carter.  I like Cris Carter.