Darren Waller Age, Renowned Tight End At Age 31 Retires

New York Giants tight end Darren Waller announced his retirement from professional football on Sunday, sharing his decision in a nearly 18-minute video posted on his YouTube channel. The 31-year-old athlete expressed that while he found great joy in the sport, his passion had gradually faded. Waller’s announcement comes after several months of contemplation about his future in the NFL.

Health Scare

Waller revealed a “very scary” medical incident that occurred in November 2022. Following an injury sustained during a game, he experienced severe symptoms at his New Jersey home. While returning from shooting a music video, Waller began feeling ill, eventually shaking violently and struggling to breathe. He called 911 and was hospitalized for three and a half days. This life-threatening episode led Waller to reevaluate his life and career, ultimately influencing his decision to retire.

Career Statistics

Darren Waller’s professional career has been marked by significant achievements. Drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the sixth round of the 2015 NFL Draft, he overcame early struggles with substance abuse to become one of the league’s top tight ends. Over his career, Waller amassed 350 receptions, 4,124 receiving yards, and 20 touchdowns in 86 games. His standout seasons came with the Las Vegas Raiders in 2019 and 2020, where he recorded a combined 197 catches for 2,341 yards and 12 touchdowns. He was named to the Pro Bowl for the 2020 season.

Challenges Faced

Waller’s journey in the NFL was not without its challenges. Early in his career, he faced suspensions for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy, missing the entire 2017 season. Open about his battles with addiction, depression, and anxiety, Waller has frequently shared his experiences to inspire others. His candid discussions about his struggles have been a testament to his resilience and determination to overcome personal obstacles.

Impact on Giants

Waller’s retirement has financial implications for the New York Giants. His absence will save the team $11.6 million in cap space while resulting in a $2.5 million hit in dead money. The Giants, who were waiting for Waller’s decision as he skipped offseason workouts and mandatory minicamp, will need to adjust their roster plans for the upcoming season.

Personal Reflections

Reflecting on his career, Waller expressed deep gratitude for the opportunities football provided. “I’m eternally grateful for the game of football,” he said. Waller credited the NFL for offering him a chance to rehab and rebuild his life. He acknowledged the league’s role in helping him become a productive member of society, a leader, and a positive example for others.

Last Season Struggles

In his final season with the Giants, Waller was limited by hamstring issues, playing in only 12 games and recording 52 catches for 552 yards and a touchdown. His performance did not meet the high expectations set for him, contributing to the Giants’ 6-11 record and their failure to make the playoffs. Despite the challenges, Waller’s talent and impact on the field were undeniable.

Personal Life

Waller’s personal life also saw significant changes. In March 2023, he married WNBA star guard Kelsey Plum, but the couple filed for divorce a month later in April. The end of his marriage, coupled with his health scare and declining passion for the game, played a role in his decision to step away from football.

Legacy and Future

Waller leaves behind a legacy of perseverance and excellence. His journey from battling addiction to becoming a top NFL player is inspirational. The Giants, in a statement, expressed their respect for Waller, wishing him nothing but the best in his future endeavors.

As Darren Waller transitions into retirement, he looks forward to exploring new opportunities and passions beyond football. His career, marked by incredible highs and significant challenges, serves as a powerful reminder of the resilience and strength required to succeed both on and off the field.

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