ENGLEWOOD, Colo. – Only four Broncos remain from the days when Darrent Williams held down one of their cornerback slots. One is Champ Bailey, who shared a position and a special friendship with Williams.
Williams was killed Jan. 1, 2007, but Bailey and the Broncos have tried to keep his memory alive. That effort was underscored Thursday, when he was presented the fifth annual Darrent Williams Good Guy Award, which is given to the Broncos player who best evokes the spirit of cooperation and honesty Williams displayed in his dealings with the media during his two years as a Bronco.
“I definitely appreciate this a lot, because I didn’t expect it,” Bailey said. “I felt like I wasn’t very cooperative this year, but it worked out.”
The truth is, Bailey was. Never was that more apparent than the last two weeks, when the Broncos were shredded for 81 points, but Bailey met the media, at length, in the locker room after the losses to the Patriots and Bills, addressing the Broncos’ struggles and their hopes for Week 17 with characteristic candor.
Bailey won a vote of local media who cover the Broncos on a regular basis. The award was presented by Jeff Legwold of The Denver Post.
During Williams’s final season, he often met the media under tough circumstances during an up-and-down season. After a loss to the Indianapolis Colts in which he was beaten for two touchdowns, he didn’t speak immediately after the game, but talked at length a day later and was apologetic about not answering questions and being accountable to the public.
Because Williams learned the value of talking to the media (and by extension, the fans) in times good and bad — and followed through in the months that followed — his name is appropriate for the honor.
“Anything with Darrent’s name on it is special to me, because everybody knows what type of player he was and what type of guy he was,” Bailey said.
Four of the five winners were teammates of Williams: safety John Lynch (2007), defensive end Ebenezer Ekuban (2008), defensive end Elvis Dumervil (2009) and Bailey. Linebacker Mario Haggan, the 2010 winner, didn’t join the Broncos until 2008.