Darren Waller, The NFL Star Player
Early Life And Background
- Darren Waller’s journey began in Landover, Maryland, where he was born to Dorian and Charlena Waller.
- Growing up, he had the opportunity to experience life in various places, including Colorado Springs, Colorado, Marietta, Georgia, and Acworth, Georgia.
- Interestingly, Darren Waller’s great-grandfather was none other than the legendary jazz musician, Fats Waller.
- While football would eventually become his profession, Darren also had a passion for hip-hop music, which he pursued in his spare time.
College Football at Georgia Tech
Waller’s football journey continued when he attended Georgia Tech, where he played as a wide receiver.
His freshman season in 2011 saw him redshirt, and after his senior year, he decided to take the leap into the NFL Draft.
Who Drafted Darren Waller?
In the 2015 NFL Draft, the Baltimore Ravens recognized Waller’s potential and selected him in the sixth round with the 204th overall pick.
This pick would prove to be significant as Waller’s career unfolded.
The Ravens signed him to a four-year, $2.39 million contract, with a signing bonus of $104,732.
A Troubled College Journey
Despite his off-field struggles, Waller earned a scholarship to play football at Georgia Tech.
However, his addiction remained hidden, even as he excelled in his studies.
He graduated with a degree in Business Administration, but his life was spiraling out of control.
A Rocky Start In The NFL
Drafted by the Ravens in the sixth round in 2015, Waller’s athletic prowess was undeniable.
Yet, rumors of his off-the-field habits had already begun to circulate.
His days were filled with a harrowing routine of substance abuse, leaving him apathetic towards his promising career.
A Wake-Up Call
The wake-up call came in the form of failed drug tests and a suspension from the NFL.
Waller’s addiction had reached a breaking point, jeopardizing not only his career but also his life.
The toll on his family was immeasurable, as they watched their son’s downward spiral with fear and helplessness.
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Darren Waller: His Professional Life
Darren Waller’s NFL Journey
Waller’s journey in the NFL is a remarkable tale of perseverance and achievement.
Joining the Raiders during Week 13 of the 2018 season from the Baltimore Ravens practice squad, he quickly made an impact.
Over the years, Waller has appeared in 65 games with 46 starts, amassing an impressive 270 receptions for 3,184 yards and 16 receiving touchdowns.
Darren Waller’s Team Journey
Notably, he became the second tight end in franchise history to achieve over 1,000 receiving yards in consecutive seasons.
In 2020, Waller’s star shone even brighter as he earned Pro Bowl honors after recording 107 receptions, 1,196 receiving yards, and nine receiving touchdowns.
His 107 receptions in that season broke the Raiders’ franchise record, a remarkable achievement considering the team’s storied history.
Baltimore Ravens (2015-2018)
Waller’s career began with the Ravens, where he faced both success and challenges.
Unfortunately, his time with the Ravens was marred by suspensions related to substance abuse policy violations.
Despite these setbacks, Waller’s determination ultimately led him to the Raiders.
Darren Waller Being Candid About His Healing Journey
I don’t think i could love Darren Waller more. I love how open he is about his recovery. Such an inspiration for so many people. He’s also really hot and good at football so like those are bonuses https://t.co/t51lF9jKg8
— keiv (@keiva_NYG) September 19, 2023
Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders (2018-Present)
- After joining the Raiders, Waller’s career took a significant turn for the better.
- He signed a three-year contract extension, cementing his place as a key player.
- Waller’s performance on the field and his impact off the field, including his charitable work, has made him a beloved figure among Raiders fans.
- In 2022, he signed a historic three-year, $51 million contract extension, making him the highest-paid tight end in the league.
The Beginning Of A Dream
Darren Waller’s journey to NFL stardom began with a modest start.
As a rookie for the Baltimore Ravens in 2015, he found himself in a room full of new teammates during training camp.
Despite the excitement that should have accompanied this milestone, Waller harbored a secret that threatened to shatter his dreams before they even took flight.
The Weight Of A Hidden Struggle
Behind the façade of a promising NFL career, Waller carried the burden of addiction.
He sat in that training camp room, contemplating the coach’s words, “If you don’t love football, just walk out of here and leave.”
For a moment, he considered doing just that, for he felt no love for the game that had always been touted as his salvation.
A Long And Winding Road
- Waller’s story is one of resilience and redemption.
- From his early years in Acworth, Georgia, he grappled with self-doubt and the pressure to conform.
- He sought solace in football, hoping it would bring him happiness and acceptance among his peers.
- However, the weight of expectations and insecurities led him down a perilous path.
The Slippery Slope
It all began innocently enough, with painkillers offered to alleviate the physical toll of football practice.
Waller’s desire for relief from the pressures of life soon evolved into a full-blown addiction.
He began stealing pills and seeking out prescription painkillers from classmates, all while maintaining a façade of normalcy.
Awards And Honors
Waller’s exceptional talent has not gone unnoticed, with his Pro Bowl selection in 2020 being a testament to his skills and dedication.
He has also set numerous records during his time with the Raiders, including most receptions in a single season and most 100-yard receiving games by a tight end.
The Struggles of Darren Waller
- Behind the scenes, Darren Waller faced personal challenges that could have derailed his NFL dreams.
- From a young age, he was told that football would bring him happiness.
- However, when he reached the NFL, his feelings were different from what he expected.
- As a rookie, Darren Waller sat in silence during his initial days with the NFL team.
- What set him apart was a secret he carried, one that could have shattered his career before it began.
Recognition And Respect
Waller contemplated leaving when the coach spoke, doubting himself and his ability to fit in.
In high school, Darren sought recognition and respect, leading him down a path of pill use.
Despite warnings from his parents, he fell into addiction. He even resorted to cheating drug tests by substituting urine samples. Eventually, the school mandated him to attend a rehabilitation facility three nights a week.
The Game-Changing Contract
In 2018, Darren Waller inked a four-year contract with the Las Vegas Raiders that was valued at just under 30 million dollars.
This deal was a game-changer in his career and set the stage for his financial prosperity.
Notably, in 2019, Waller extended his contract with a four-year extension, solidifying his commitment to the Raiders.
A Look At His Annual Salary
- Waller’s annual salary has been a subject of curiosity among football enthusiasts.
- In 2022, he is set to earn a base salary of 6.25 million dollars.
- This substantial income is further enhanced by a roster bonus of 500,000 dollars and a workout bonus of 250,000 dollars.
- Such figures undoubtedly place him among the top earners in the NFL.
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Darren Waller: Wife, Family And Net Worth
Darren Waller’s Family
Family plays a significant role in Waller’s life.
He was born on September 13, 1992, in Acworth, Georgia, and his parents, Dorian and Charlena Waller, have been a constant source of support.
He shares a close bond with his sister, Deanna. Additionally, Waller is in a relationship with Kelsey Plum, a prominent basketball player who competes professionally for the Las Vegas Aces of the Women’s National Basketball Association.
Family Beyond Football
While Darren Waller’s football career is impressive, his story becomes even more inspiring when you consider his family background.
Dorian and Charlena Waller raised not only a talented NFL player but also a loving family.
Meet Deanna Waller
Darren Waller is not an only child; he has a sibling, Deanna Waller.
Deanna has been a source of support and companionship for Darren throughout his journey.
Dorian Waller’s Journey
Darren’s father, Dorian, holds a bachelor’s degree in Management Information Systems from Pace University.
He started his career as a solutions delivery specialist at Coca-Cola in 1998 and later worked for Tata Consultancy Services.
Eventually, he joined Verizon Wireless as a senior programmer analyst.
Charlena Waller’s Role In Darren’s Recovery
Charlena Waller, Darren’s mother, is a real estate appraiser. However, her most significant role in her son’s life was during his battle with addiction.
Charlena stood by Darren during his recovery journey, providing unwavering support and love.
She was overjoyed when her son received an opportunity to practice with the Ravens after rehab.
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