Giants TE Darren Waller retires after 8 NFL seasons

League: NFL

Posted on: 10 Jun, 2024 at 02:00 AM

Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

New York Giants tight end Darren Waller announced his retirement on Sunday, explaining in a YouTube video that "the passion has slowly been fading."

Waller, 31, also revealed that a "very scary" health emergency last November made him re-think where his life was at.

He did not name the medical condition, but Waller said he struggled to breathe and wound up spending 3 1/2 days in a hospital unable to stand, feed himself or use the bathroom.

"I come out of that experience and I'm sitting in the hospital," Waller said, "and I go back into my daily life and I'm like, ‘Pretty clear, I almost just lost my life, and I don't know if I really feel if I would have died that I would have felt great about how my life was going if I died at that time.'"

It was reported last week that the Giants expected the veteran to retire.

"We have great respect for Darren as a person and player. We wish him nothing but the best," the Giants said in a statement Sunday.

Waller, who is also working on a music career, spent the offseason contemplating his decision and was not with the team. He thanked the NFL in his video, saying that being a football player opened doors to help address his past struggles with addiction that he might not have had otherwise.

"Eternally grateful for the game of football. I wouldn't be able to have this conversation or to think things through or be self-reflective if it wasn't for an opportunity to save my life and go to rehab, which the NFL offered me," he said. "They also gave me an opportunity to reestablish myself, to come back into the world and do something productive. Provide an example, be a leader, be a difference-maker in my craft but also in my day-to-day wherever I go."

Waller joined the Giants for the 2023 season after two seasons with the Baltimore Ravens and five with the Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders. In his lone season with New York, Waller played 12 games (11 starts) and made 52 receptions for 552 yards and one touchdown.

Waller was a Pro Bowl selection in 2020, when he hit career highs of 107 catches, 1,196 yards and nine touchdowns with the Raiders. After 86 career games (63 starts), Waller finishes his career with 350 receptions, 4,124 yards and 20 TDs.

According to ESPN, the Giants will save $11.9 million against the cap with Waller a post-June 1 cut.

--Field Level Media