The Truth About Darren Waller
What you probably know about Darren Waller is that he is one of the most productive Tight Ends in the NFL. What you may not know, is that his career was almost over before it ever started. Darren Waller's journey to the NFL was a struggle within his life that included his fight with addiction, and questioning whether he even wanted to play football anymore.
It all started one day in High School when one of Waller’s teammates offered him a pain pill after practice. He loved the way it made him feel, and soon football was secondary to Waller. Drugs came first. Before practice, after practice, it didn’t matter. In his own mind, he was an addict, despite being an ultra talented wide receiver in High School, eventually earning him a scholarship to Georgia Tech.
It was there on the first day he moved onto the Tech campus that some upperclassmen came in his room and offered him a bottle of everclear. It snowballed from there. Percocet, codeine, alcohol. You name it, he was hooked. He thought it was his identity, who he was. Football was almost an afterthought by the time he stepped on the field in college. Still, he managed over 400 yards receiving his junior year. None of that mattered to him, he would cheat drug tests, come late to practice, and be the first to leave. He used before games, after games. Somehow, he managed to graduate a semester early at Georgia Tech, and stayed on the field long enough for NFL scouts to take notice of his raw athletic ability. A can’t miss talent to some NFL scouts, although word of his off the field problems started to trickle through the media, possibly hurting his draft stock.
The Baltimore Ravens drafted Waller in the 5tg round of the 2015 draft as a wide receiver. Once in Baltimore, things continued to get worse. Still using before practice, after practice. He was placed on injured reserve during the 2015 season, and on June 17th 2016, Waller was suspended for violating the leagues substance abuse policy In July 2017, he was suspended the entire season without pay. He played a total of 18 games during the 2015 and 2016 seasons, totaling 113 receiving yards.
In August of 2018, he was reinstated by the NFL and assigned to the Ravens practice squad. By November 2018, he had been signed from the Ravens to the Raiders practice squad. During that season he had a mere 6 catches for 75 yards. That next season Waller had been featured on NFL Hard Knocks detailing his struggles with addiction. In week one of the 2019 season Waller caught 7 balls for 70 yards against the Broncos. In week 3, he torched the Vikings for 13 catches and 134 yards. In October of the 2019 season the Raiders signed Waller to a 3 year contract extension through the 2023 season. He finished the 2019 season with 90 receptions for 1,145 yards. In 2020 he had a career high 107 catches, 1,196 yards, and 7 TDs. He ranked 2nd behind Travis Kelce in TE yardage.
Darren Waller continues to speak openly on his recovery from addiction even offering his wisdom and experience to teammates that had struggled with the same issues. And he continues to be a top 3 fantasy Tight End in all formats, giving you big time numbers almost every week. He does it while staying humble and remembering where he came from.
“What expectations really do is reflect our impatience and our insecurities, our inability to live life on life’s terms. ”Darren Waller, Monday motivations
Join TSF Memorabilia Slots on Facebook to start building your mancave now!