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Darren Waller says need to ‘re-evaluate’ his life led him to retire from football

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Darren Waller took to YouTube Sunday night to confirm and explain his decision to retire from the NFL.

“I’ve had quite an eventful year,” Waller said. “For a lot of my life my life has looked tremendous from the things that I have going on … but internally there’s been a lot of stops where it’s like ‘why doesn’t it feel as good as it looks’?”

Waller said he had a “very scary” medical emergency where he thought he was dying last year shortly after he suffered a hamstring injury that forced him to miss several games. Waller said he was hospitalized for several days and knew when he left the hospital it was “pretty clear I almost just lost my life.”

Waller said the near-death experience, which he did not fully explain, forced him to “re-evaluate” how he was living his life.

“I don’t know if I really feel like if I would have died that I would have felt great about how my life was going if I died at the time,” Waller said.

Waller said he got “a lot of joy” from playing football, but knew that “the passion has slowly been fading.”

He added that his now former wife Kelsey Plum of the WNBA Las Vegas Aces is “a great person” but he felt like he was living to make her happy.

Waller has dealt with addiction to drugs and alcohol, and while he has been sober for several years now he remains a complicated person.

“I feel like I’ve done most of my life doing what I should be doing, and measuring that in the eyes of what people would expect from me,” Waller said. “I’ve been a people-pleaser my whole life, somebody that has struggled with worth, confidence, feeling valuable.

“You find value in people accepting you because of the way you play a game. The way that you go out there and do what you do and entertain.

“I feel like I always end up at the stop of my life looking way better than it feels … this is an opportunity for me to kind of take back the power in my life, start to make choices for myself, take control. … it’s about becoming who I really am.”

Waller’s journey has been an interesting one, inspiring in many ways as he overcame addictions to have an outstanding NFL career.

Personally, I wish him well as he searches for whatever makes him happy. Perhaps he has more important things to do in the world than be a football player. I encourage you to listen to the entire Waller video if you have a desire to understand more about him and not just how his retirement impacts the Giants.

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