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Panhandler's voice draws national attention

January 5, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
Although many people might brush off a man in Columbus, Ohio, as another panhandler, they take a second look when they hear him speak.

A YouTube video of Ted Williams, posted by a Columbus Dispatch reporter, has been viewed more than seven million times.

His impressive voice has since gotten the attention of the national media.

"The voice just became something of a development over the years," Williams says in the video. "I went to school for it. Then alcohol and drugs and a few other things became part of my life. I got two years clean."

Born and raised in Brooklyn, N.Y., a series of setbacks left Williams on the streets with no job and no home.

That reporter saw his sign and decided to get him on camera. It read: "I'm an ex-radio announcer who has fallen on hard times."

Williams' life has now been turned upside down.

On Wednesday, he was paid as a substitute DJ on a Columbus radio station where the job offers started pouring in.

The Cleveland Cavaliers offered Williams a two-year contract announcing at their stadium and they even promised to pay his mortgage.

Williams is also being pursued by NFL Films.

The 53-year-old father of nine hasn't decided what job he'll take, but he's certainly thankful.

"It's some type of hope that God was going to pull me through sometime," he said.

Williams has gone from eating out of trash cans to getting his life back on track because of a gift he always had.

He does have a lengthy criminal history and has served time in prison for theft and forgery.

But despite his record, the Cavaliers said their job offer to Williams still stands.

A team official said "We believe in second chances."

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