Williams family OK's Moreno's request

Updated: May 2, 2009, 4:22 PM ET
By Bill Williamson | ESPN.com

No. 27 is back in circulation in Denver.

The number was put on hiatus as a tribute to slain cornerback Darrent Williams. The popular Williams, who was 24 at the time of his death, was shot and killed in downtown Denver on Jan. 1, 2007, hours after the team's season ended.

After not being used the past two seasons, the number will be worn by Denver rookie running back Knowshon Moreno.

The Broncos picked Moreno, out of Georgia, with the 12th choice in last weekend's draft. He is expected to be the starting running back for an offense that may become more run-oriented in the wake of the Jay Cutler trade to Chicago.

Moreno, who wore No. 24 in college (currently worn by All-Pro cornerback Champ Bailey in Denver), asked the Broncos to wear No. 27. The Broncos then called Williams' mother, Rosalind Williams, to ask permission to use the number.

The Williams family called the Broncos back and gave its blessing for Moreno to wear the number -- on one condition.

The family plans to ask Moreno to donate a few hours of his time each month to the Darrent Williams Teen Center, which was opened in a low-income part of Denver last May to honor Williams' memory. Moreno wore the number at the team's minicamp practice Friday.

Moreno conveyed to the Williams family Saturday that he plans to talk to Rosalind Williams about working at the team center and promised he will honor the number.

"We knew that number wasn't going to be on the shelf forever," said Troy Asmus, the Williams family's spokesman. "We would like Knowshon to be part of the community center to help with the growth and maturation of these kids."

Bill Williamson covers the AFC West for ESPN.com.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN San Francisco 49ers reporter

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