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Former Titans Offensive Tackle Todd Williams Passes Away at 35

Posted Jan 7, 2014

 
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Former Titans offensive tackle Todd Williams, who overcame a troubled youth to win a national championship at Florida State and play briefly in the NFL, passed away Monday at the age of 35 in his residence in Manatee, Fla.

View Photos of Williams' NFL Career

Williams, a seventh-round draft pick (225th overall) by the Titans in 2003, had been suffering from stomach pain and could not taste anything over the last month, his mother, Ozepher Fluker, told the Bradenton Herald. Fluker advised him to go to the hospital on Friday. When she hadn't heard from him over the weekend, she went to check on him at his residence, where a Manatee County Sheriff officer found him deceased Monday morning.

The 6-foot-5, 325-pound Williams played in seven games as a reserve right tackle for the Titans, including six in 2004, before being waived following the 2005 season opener.

Williams was one of three recipients of the NCAA Inspiration Award, given to individuals who used perseverance, dedication and determination to overcome a life-altering situation. Williams was raised by his grandmother until she died of complications from diabetes in 1993. Instead of being placed in a foster home, Williams ran away and slept on the streets in Bradenton, later doing the same in Miami.

Williams, however, had promised his grandmother he would graduate from high school and make something of himself, so he moved back to Bradenton and worked at a grocery store to make ends meet, while eventually being named the fifth-best offensive tackle in the state by the Florida Times Union.

Williams went on to play at Florida State, where he was named third-team All-American and first-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference by the NFL Draft Report his senior season. Williams won the NCAA's 2002 Inspirational Athlete of the Year Award while at FSU and earned degrees in sociology and criminology.

During his time with the Titans Williams said he prayed before every game because he was "thankful for what he had overcome" throughout his life. After football, he said he wanted to go around the country to talk with underprivileged and fatherless kids about what he overcame in life in order to be successful.

Williams did just that and most recently was a teacher at Manatee Y Technological High School.

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