Darren Waller retires: Former Pro Bowl TE hangs up cleats after lone season with Giants, eight-year NFL career


                        Darren Waller retires: Former Pro Bowl TE hangs up cleats after lone season with Giants, eight-year NFL career
By: CBS Sports Posted On: June 10, 2024 View: 6

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After months of contemplating retirement, Darren Waller has finally made a decision. Days ahead of the start of the New York Giants' mandatory minicamp, the former Pro Bowl tight end has informed the team he is officially hanging up the cleats, according to CBS Sports lead NFL insider Jonathan Jones.

"The passion (for football) has slowly been fading," Waller admitted in a video statement he released Sunday, explaining that a medical episode during the 2023 season "forced me to reevaluate" his priorities on and off the field.

"(It's) a whole lot of money (to leave behind)," Waller said of his decision to retire. "But I feel like I've spent most of my life doing what I 'should' be doing ... I've been a people pleaser my whole life. ... This is an opportunity for me to kind of take back the power in my life, start to make choices for myself and take control. ... I'm not disappearing off the face of the Earth. I'm shifting. I'm turning. I'm gonna be going wherever God is taking me next. But this journey will always be something that I hold dear."

The Giants released the following statement regarding Waller's decision: "We have great respect for Darren as a person and player. We wish him nothing but the best."

Waller, 31, had not attended the Giants' voluntary offseason programming up to this point, admitting to reporters he was undecided about his NFL future just one year after his Big Blue tenure began.

"It's really the idea of signing up for another journey," Waller told The Athletic in May. "It's tough, it's long, it requires a lot. And if you're not fully bought into every single thing of the process, it's going to be tough. I feel like at the end of the day, you're doing guys a disservice if you're not all the way in. So those are the kinds of things I'm taking into account."

Acquired from the Las Vegas Raiders in exchange for a third-round draft pick last offseason, Waller appeared in just 12 games for the Giants in 2023, missing five due to injury. While he was productive when healthy, securing 52 passes for 552 yards, durability issues have plagued him dating back to his time with the silver and black. Originally a sixth-round pick of the Baltimore Ravens in 2014, Waller twice topped 90 catches and 1,100 yards as a top Raiders target, only to miss a combined 14 games from 2021-2022.

His best NFL season came in 2020, when he led all tight ends with 107 catches, approaching 1,200 receiving yards while scoring a career-high nine touchdowns. He's also well known for his off-field recovery, achieving sobriety from drugs and alcohol after multiple NFL suspensions early in his career.

Read this on CBS Sports

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