Dec 25, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; New York Giants tight end Darren Waller (12) during warm-ups against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

(East Rutherford, NJ) – The Giants have officially lost their former Pro Bowl tight end to retirement. While he was quiet in the months leading up to the decision, Darren Waller has been quite vocal about what he expects moving forward. 

Waller’s focus and passion has shifted away from the gridiron and more towards personal fulfillment. “I want to do things that I want to do and I’m going to invest time in that. But I’m also going to continue to be what I’ve done for addiction and mental health, that kind of advocacy.” 

Mandatory Credit: Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports

His once promising career almost never happened. Waller struggled with drug use and opioid addiction in high school and at Georgia Tech, and even received suspensions early in his pro career. After finally getting clean in 2018, Waller was able to overcome his addiction and rise as one of the elite tight ends in the league.

Some of his interests include traveling and seeing other parts of the world. Waller recently went to Utah to visit some national parks. He also added the importance of the people in his life, saying “I want to be more involved in my family’s lives, be a better friend, be a better sponsor, just be more present in the lives of people because I don’t really feel like I have been while chasing football.” 

The decision was finalized when Waller realized his conflicting feelings were changing the way he approached football. “I reached a point where I don’t have that 100 percent to give to the process. I don’t think that’s fair to teammates, or fans, or organizations that are expecting me to give that. That’s why I came to the decision I made.”

Mandatory Credit: Chris Pedota, / USA TODAY NETWORK

Alongside contemplating retirement, Waller was also in the process of getting divorced this spring. He changed his phone number in hopes of escaping the noise in his life and the messages that he’s received from those closest to him are “supportive and loving.” 

While it is disappointing for fans to see a player with so much potential walk away so early, it is encouraging to see that Waller has the intent of retiring in order to improve other important areas of his life. 

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