A Homeless Man’s Inspiring Story

Posted By on January 5, 2011

CLEVELAND — With a deep, refined voice, one that had been sadly misplaced, Ted Williams simply asked for help to get him off the streets.

He’s been heard.

Left homeless after his life and career were ruined by drugs and alcohol, Williams has been offered a job by the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers and is being pursued by NFL Films for possible work after he and his compelling tale became an online curiosity.

“This has been totally, totally amazing,” Williams said in a phone interview with The Associated Press on Wednesday, his voice choking with emotion. “I’m just so thankful. God has blessed me so deeply. I’m getting a second chance. Amazing.”

Williams was contacted Wednesday by the Cavaliers, who have offered him a position that could include announcing work at Quicken Loans Arena, the team’s downtown arena. Williams said the team has offered him a two-year contract and said they would pay his mortgage.

Williams, whose deep baritone and plight have made him an online video sensation, was contacted Wednesday by the Cavs. Team spokesman Tad Carper said details are still being worked out on a possible position for Williams.

Williams’ compelling tale also has drawn interest from NFL Films, which has chronicled pro football for nearly 50 years and wants to contact Williams.

“It’s that voice,” said Kevin McLoughlin, director of post-production films for the NFL told The Associated Press. “When I heard him tell his story, I said, ‘That’s what we do. This guy can tell a story.’ Somehow, some way, I need to get a demo with him.”

“The man deserves a second chance,” said McLoughlin, who has not yet been able to contact Williams.

“I can’t believe what’s going on,” Williams, a father of nine, told The Associated Press, adding he feels like Susan Boyle, the English singing sensation who became an overnight star. “God gave me a million-dollar voice and I just hope I can do right by him.”

Williams said he is flying to New York to see his 90-year-old mother, who lives in Brooklyn and has stood by him during his battles with addiction.

“She has always been my best friend,” he said, crying. “When I was a kid, she would take me down to Radio City Music Hall and on the subway. I’m just glad that she is still around. I prayed that she would live long enough that I could make her proud and see could her son do something other than stand along the side of the road with a sign asking for money.”

Williams’ life began spiraling downward in 1996 when he began drinking alcohol “pretty bad.” He used marijuana and cocaine and lost interest in his radio career. Williams said his last job was with a station in Columbus. He eventually wound up on the streets, despite the best efforts of his children, seven daughters and two sons who all live in the Columbus area.

Williams, who told the Dispatch he sometimes lives in a camp behind a gas station, says he had trouble with drugs and alcohol but is two years’ sober.

“I’m trying hard to get it back,” he told the newspaper.

A Dispatch videographer by chance decided to film Williams, who sometimes panhandles off Interstate 71.

“We run into these guys at the exit ramps and we pretty much ignore them,” the videographer, Doral Chenoweth III, said on the Dispatch website. “This guy was using his talent.”

“One of the problems with a lot of homeless people is that they have some rich talent, but don’t have the confidence to exploit that talent,” Ater said, adding he was unfamiliar with Williams before the video hit. “He’s fabulous. The Cavaliers could use a boost of some kind.”

More at: http://sports.espn.go.com/nba/news/story?id=5991313

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