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Sadness at Dove Valley

Posted Jan 2, 2007

An emotional Head Coach Mike Shanahan met with his team Tuesday morning before answering questions about Darrent Williams, who was killed Monday morning in a drive-by shooting.


Team to Attend Williams Funeral Saturday


Darrent Williams

By Andrew Mason

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- An emotional Head Coach Mike Shanahan sat down with media Tuesday for the first time since Darrent Williams' death on Monday, recalling his life and speaking for a grieving team that gathered at its headquarters.

"Any time you deal with death, obviously it's something that is hard to talk about," Shanahan said. "It's hard to deal with. It's something that you don't really prepare yourself for."

It is something that Shanahan has dealt with before in his head-coaching career -- on Aug. 5, 1989, when he coached the Los Angeles Raiders. That day, safety Stacey Toran, a veteran of five NFL seasons, died in an automobile accident.

Williams was shot and killed Monday morning in a drive-by shooting in downtown Denver. A day later, the team convened for the first time since his passing for an emotional meeting.

"We talked about a number of things," Shanahan said. "We didn't talk about anything in the offseason. We talked about Darrent Williams and we talked about the services and the memorial and (that) he's in a better place right now and it's hard to understand why he's gone, but he's up in heaven right now."

The funeral services will take place on Saturday at the Great Commission Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas. Shanahan said that the entire team will attend, with an airplane to ferry players and members of the Broncos organization to the Metroplex for the afternoon service.

"It's something that our players feel very strongly about, as well as our coaches," Shanahan said. "It's something that's tough to do, but it's something that you do as a family."

The team will also hold a private memorial service Wednesday at Dove Valley.

“Players that would like to share some of their stories within the organization with Darrent's immediate family will get a chance to do that," Shanahan said. "A number of players came to me today and said that they felt very strongly that we have a memorial service where players could share with Darrent's mom and immediate family what Darrent meant to them, reflect some stories on what he has done that she might not be aware of.

"This didn't surprise me, because that's the type of players we have."

And those players -- and their coaches -- can merely try and hold themselves up as best as they can.

"It's always tough," Shanahan added. "Any time you deal with someone that's part of your family -- just a class young man that we care an awful lot for -- it's tough, it's really hard. But I think our team is holding up as good as possible under the circumstances."

So was Shanahan, although his voice quaked with emotion throughout the press conference, as he twice had to pause to gather his thoughts. When asked about what he said to Williams' mother, Rosalind, Shanahan could barely force the words from his lips.

"Maybe in a little bit I'll be able to tell that story," he said, his voice cracking with sadness.

"I think everybody feels about Darrent the way I do, because I don't think he had a guy that wasn't his friend. That's just the way he lived life. He had a smile on his face. You never know why God takes somebody, but I know one thing, He got ... He got somebody very special in Darrent."

Commemorating Williams' memory in the organization, on the uniform or elsewhere has been discussed, although it is too early for anything to be formalized.

"We talked about that," Shanahan said. "There's a number of different thoughts right now. With the memorial and the service Saturday and what's gone on here in the last 24, 48 hours, there will be something done, but we haven't decided on what.

"But his memory will be there for a lot of years. We will think of something. (There are) a lot of different ideas at this time."