Todd Williams, who briefly played as a reserve right tackle for the Tennessee Titans in 2004 and 2005 after playing college ball at Florida State, was found dead in Bradenton, Fla. on Monday.
Williams was just 35 years old, and it is not yet clear what caused his death. According to the Bradenton Herald, though, Williams had recently been dealing with some strange health issues:
Williams could not taste anything and had stomach pain for about a month, his mother, Ozepher Fluker, said, so she advised him to go to the hospital to get checked out Friday.
Williams was essentially Michael Oher of The Blind Side fame before Michael Oher. After overcoming a childhood during which he was homeless, Williams played high school football at Southeast High under the close tutelage of his coaches, particularly his offensive line coach, Dave Marino.
From the Herald:
"I had a close relationship with him," Marino said. "Not only did I coach him, but a lot of us basically adopted him. I used to bring him to my house. He'd cut my lawn. I'd feed him. I'd be able to pay him for cutting the lawn. All of us, any way to help him out. Take him home after practice. Make sure he had some groceries and some basic necessities in the apartment he was living in. He was like a little brother to me."
Williams went on to win NCAA's Inspirational Athlete of the Year award while at FSU in 2002.