Darren Waller
refer to caption
Waller with the Oakland Raiders in 2019
No. 83 – Las Vegas Raiders
Position:Tight end
Personal information
Born: (1992-09-13) September 13, 1992 (age 30)
Landover, Maryland
Height:6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)
Weight:255 lb (116 kg)
Career information
High school:North Cobb
(Kennesaw, Georgia)
College:Georgia Tech (2011–2014)
NFL Draft:2015 / Round: 6 / Pick: 204
Career history
Roster status:Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of Week 3, 2022
Receptions:283
Receiving yards:3,335
Receiving touchdowns:17
Player stats at NFL.com · PFR

Darren Charles Waller (born September 13, 1992)[1] is an American football tight end for the Las Vegas Raiders of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Georgia Tech.[1][2][3] He is the great-grandson of composer and jazz pianist Fats Waller.[1]

Early life

Darren Waller was born in Landover, Maryland, to Dorian and Charlena Waller.[1] He has a sister, Deanna. He was raised in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Marietta, Georgia, and Acworth, Georgia.[1][4] Darren Waller's great-grandfather was jazz musician Fats Waller. Darren produces hip-hop music in his spare time.[5]

College career

Waller attended and played college football at Georgia Tech as a wide receiver where he redshirted his freshman season of 2011 and decided to forgo his final year of eligibility by entering the 2015 NFL Draft.[6]

Collegiate statistics

Darren Waller Receiving
Year School Conf Class Pos G Rec Yds Avg TD
2012 Georgia Tech ACC SO WR 14 8 162 20.3 0
2013 Georgia Tech ACC JR WR 9 17 367 21.6 3
2014 Georgia Tech ACC SR WR 10 26 442 17.0 6
Career Georgia Tech 33 51 971 19.0 9

Professional career

Pre-draft measurables
Height Weight Arm length Hand span 40-yard dash 10-yard split 20-yard split 20-yard shuttle Three-cone drill Vertical jump Broad jump Bench press
6 ft 6+18 in
(1.98 m)
238 lb
(108 kg)
33+14 in
(0.84 m)
9 in
(0.23 m)
4.46 s 1.57 s 2.62 s 4.25 s 7.07 s 37.0 in
(0.94 m)
10 ft 5 in
(3.18 m)
12 reps
All values from NFL Combine[7][8]

Baltimore Ravens

The Baltimore Ravens selected Waller in the sixth round with the 204th overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.[9] The selection was acquired in a trade in exchange for Rolando McClain. Waller became the 27th wide receiver drafted in 2015.[10] On May 7, 2015, the Baltimore Ravens signed Waller to a four-year, $2.39 million contract that included a signing bonus of $104,732.[11]

Darren Waller with the Ravens
Darren Waller with the Ravens

2015

See also: 2015 Baltimore Ravens season

Throughout training camp, Waller competed for a roster spot as a backup wide receiver against Marlon Brown, Michael Campanaro, and Kamar Aiken.[12] Head coach John Harbaugh named Waller the sixth wide receiver on the depth chart to begin his rookie season, behind Steve Smith Sr., Kamar Aiken, Michael Campanaro, Marlon Brown, and Breshad Perriman.[13]

On October 29, 2015, Waller was placed on the injured reserve list, ending his season.[14]

2016

See also: 2016 Baltimore Ravens season

On July 1, 2016, Waller was suspended for the first four games of the 2016 NFL season for violating the league's substance-abuse policy.[15]

2017

See also: 2017 Baltimore Ravens season

On June 30, 2017, Waller was suspended for one year without pay for again violating the substance-abuse policy.[16]

2018

See also: 2018 Baltimore Ravens season

On August 7, 2018, Waller was reinstated by the league after completing a rehabilitation program at Borden Cottage and serving his year-long suspension.[17][18] He was waived on September 1, 2018, and was signed to the practice squad the next day.[19][20]

Oakland / Las Vegas Raiders

2018

See also: 2018 Oakland Raiders season

On November 26, 2018, Waller was signed by the Oakland Raiders off the Ravens' practice squad.[21] During the 2018 season, he had six receptions for 75 yards.[22]

2019

See also: 2019 Oakland Raiders season

On Hard Knocks with the Raiders, he was featured in an episode detailing his struggle with substance abuse and his steps taken to overcome it.[23] In Week 1 of the 2019 season against the Denver Broncos, Waller caught seven passes for 70 yards in the 24–16 win.[24] During Week 3 against the Minnesota Vikings, Waller finished with 134 receiving yards on 13 receptions, marking his first career game with over 100 yards, but the Raiders lost 34–14.[25] On October 16, 2019, Waller signed a three-year contract extension with the Raiders through the 2023 season.[26] In Week 7 against the Green Bay Packers, Waller caught seven passes for 126 yards and two touchdowns in the 42–24 loss.[27] In Week 13 against the Kansas City Chiefs, Waller caught seven passes for 100 yards in the 40–9 loss.[28] In Week 14 against the Tennessee Titans, he caught seven passes for 63 yards in a 42–21 loss.[29] During Week 15 against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Waller finished with eight catches for 122 receiving yards as the Raiders lost 20–16.[30] In Week 17 against the Denver Broncos, Waller caught six passes for 107 yards, including a 75-yard catch, during the 16–15 loss.[31] Waller was named as an alternate to the 2020 Pro Bowl, and after the Kansas City Chiefs advanced to the Super Bowl, he was originally supposed to be named in as a replacement for Travis Kelce, but he had recently had thumb surgery and was unable to play. Jack Doyle was instead named as Kelce's alternate.[32] Waller finished the 2019 season with 90 receptions for 1,145 yards and three touchdowns.[33]

2020

See also: 2020 Las Vegas Raiders season

In Week 2 of the 2020 season against the New Orleans Saints on Monday Night Football, he had 12 receptions for 103 receiving yards and one receiving touchdown in the 34–24 victory.[34] He was fined $30,000 by the NFL on October 5, 2020, for hosting a maskless charity event during the COVID-19 pandemic in violation of the NFL's COVID-19 protocols for the 2020 season.[35] In Week 13 against the New York Jets, Waller had 13 receptions for 200 receiving yards, establishing a new Raiders franchise record for a tight end, while also scoring two touchdowns in a 31–28 win.[36][37] In Week 15 against the Los Angeles Chargers on Thursday Night Football, Waller had nine receptions for 150 yards and a touchdown during the 30–27 overtime loss.[38] In Week 16 against the Miami Dolphins, Waller recorded 5 catches for 112 yards during the 26–25 loss.[39] In Week 17 against the Denver Broncos, Waller recorded 9 catches for 117 yards and a touchdown as well as catching the game winning 2 point conversion attempt late in the fourth quarter to secure a 32–31 win for the Raiders.[40] For the 2020 season, Waller established career highs in receptions (107), receiving yards (1,196) and touchdowns (9). His 107 receptions ranked fourth in the NFL and first among tight ends, while his yardage ranked tenth overall and second among tight ends (behind Travis Kelce's 1,416 yards).[41]

2022

See also: 2022 Las Vegas Raiders season

On September 10, 2022, Waller signed a three-year, $51 million contract extension with the Raiders, becoming the highest-paid tight end in the league.[42]

Personal life

Waller began abusing oxycodone at 15 years old and drinking alcohol at 16 years old. His oxycodone addiction escalated to the point that he was eventually spending $100 per day on pills. Later in life, he began using "a lot of" cocaine.[43] On August 11, 2017 in Maryland, he overdosed on pills while sitting in his parked Jeep.[43][44] After spending 34 days in a substance abuse rehabilitation program in Camden, Maine, he took a job stocking shelves at a Sprouts Farmers Market.[43]

Waller founded the Darren Waller Foundation in 2020 to "equip youth to avoid and overcome addiction to drugs and alcohol and support youth and their families during their recovery and treatment journey."[45]

NFL career statistics

Legend
Led the league (for tight ends)
Bold Career highs
Year Team Games Receiving Rushing Fumbles
GP GS Rec Yds Avg Lng TD Att Yds Avg Lng TD Fum Lost
2015 BAL 6 1 2 18 9.0 17 0 0 0 0.0 0 0 0 0
2016 BAL 12 3 10 85 8.5 15 2 0 0 0.0 0 0 0 0
2017 BAL Suspended
2018 OAK 4 0 6 75 12.5 44 0 1 21 21.0 21 0 0 0
2019 OAK 16 16 90 1,145 12.7 75 3 2 5 2.5 7 0 1 1
2020 LV 16 15 107 1,196 11.2 38 9 0 0 0.0 0 0 2 2
2021 LV 11 11 55 665 12.1 33 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2022 LV 3 3 13 151 11.6 31 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Career 68 49 283 3,335 11.8 75 17 3 26 8.7 21 0 3 3

References

  1. ^ a b c d e "Darren Waller". RamblinWreck.com. CBS. Archived from the original on June 21, 2018. Retrieved October 30, 2015.
  2. ^ Huguenin, Mike (January 14, 2015). "Georgia Tech WR Darren Waller's size a selling point to scouts". NFL.com. National Football League. Retrieved May 2, 2015.
  3. ^ Sugiura, Ken (April 30, 2015). "Waller among intriguing UGA and Tech draft prospects". myajc.com. Retrieved May 2, 2015.
  4. ^ Zrebiec, Jeff (November 9, 2018). "For so long, Ravens TE Darren Waller's smile obscured a secret: He didn't like himself and drugs were how he coped". The Athletic. Retrieved September 15, 2022.
  5. ^ "Darren Waller Soundcloud". www.soundcloud.com. Retrieved September 21, 2020.
  6. ^ "Darren Waller College Stats". College Football at Sports-Reference.com. Retrieved March 16, 2019.
  7. ^ "Darren Waller Combine Profile". NFL.com. Retrieved July 23, 2020.
  8. ^ "2015 Draft Scout Darren Waller, Georgia Tech NFL Draft Scout College Football Profile". draftscout.com. Retrieved June 11, 2022.
  9. ^ "2015 NFL Draft Listing". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved December 18, 2020.
  10. ^ "Baltimore Ravens select Darren Waller". Baltimoreravens.com. May 2, 2015. Archived from the original on October 24, 2017. Retrieved August 7, 2015.
  11. ^ "Spotrac.com: Darren Waller contract". Spotrac.com. Retrieved September 6, 2020.
  12. ^ "2015 Ravens Depth Chart: Wide Receiver". baltimorebeatdown.com. May 16, 2015. Retrieved November 24, 2020.
  13. ^ "Ourlads.com: Baltimore Ravens Depth Chart: 10/01/2015". Ourlads.com. Retrieved November 24, 2020.
  14. ^ Stevens, Matthew (October 28, 2015). "Wide Receiver Darren Waller hits injured reserve". Baltimore Beatdown. Retrieved February 17, 2020.
  15. ^ Florio, Mike (July 1, 2016). "Ravens tight end Darren Waller suspended four games". NBCSports.com. National Broadcasting Company. Retrieved October 23, 2017.
  16. ^ Bergman, Jeremy (June 30, 2017). "Ravens TE Darren Waller suspended for at least a year". NFL.com. National Football League. Retrieved February 20, 2020.
  17. ^ "Sobriety life in the nfl". ESPN.com. ESPN. October 10, 2019.
  18. ^ Downing, Garrett (August 7, 2018). "Tight End Darren Waller Reinstated From Year-Long Suspension". BaltimoreRavens.com. Retrieved February 20, 2020.
  19. ^ Mink, Ryan (September 1, 2018). "Ravens Make Final Cuts to 53 Players". BaltimoreRavens.com. Retrieved February 20, 2020.
  20. ^ Mink, Ryan (September 2, 2018). "Ravens Assemble Their 2018 Practice Squad". BaltimoreRavens.com. Retrieved February 20, 2020.
  21. ^ Gantt, Darin (November 26, 2018). "Raiders signing tight end off Ravens practice squad". Pro Football Talk. NBC Sports.
  22. ^ "Darren Waller 2018 Game Log". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved March 16, 2019.
  23. ^ Kawahara, Matt (August 21, 2019). "Raiders on 'Hard Knocks': Darren Waller opens up, but Antonio Brown dominates". SFChronicle.com. Retrieved February 17, 2020.
  24. ^ "Raiders beat Broncos 24-16 in 1st game after Brown's release". www.espn.com. Associated Press. September 9, 2019. Retrieved September 9, 2019.
  25. ^ "Oakland Raiders at Minnesota Vikings - September 22nd, 2019". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved February 17, 2020.
  26. ^ Gordon, Grant (October 16, 2019). "Raiders lock up TE Darren Waller thru 2023 season". NFL.com. Retrieved February 20, 2020.
  27. ^ "Rodgers throws 5 TD passes, Packers gash Raiders 42-24". www.espn.com. Associated Press. October 20, 2019. Retrieved October 20, 2019.
  28. ^ "Oakland Raiders at Kansas City Chiefs - December 1st, 2019". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved February 17, 2020.
  29. ^ "Chiefs rout Raiders 40-9 to seize AFC West control". www.espn.com. Associated Press. December 1, 2019. Retrieved December 1, 2019.
  30. ^ "Minshew, Jaguars stun Raiders late in Oakland farewell". Reuters. December 16, 2019. Retrieved February 20, 2020.
  31. ^ "Broncos beat Raiders 16-15 to keep rival from playoffs. He finished the season with a break out year of 1,142 from ninety receptions and three touchdowns". www.espn.com. Associated Press. January 3, 2020. Retrieved December 29, 2019.
  32. ^ Damien, Levi (January 21, 2020). "Darren Waller injury has him passed up for Pro Bowl invite in favor of Colts TE Jack Doyle". Raiders Wire. Retrieved February 17, 2020.
  33. ^ "Darren Waller 2019 Game Log". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved February 17, 2020.
  34. ^ "New Orleans Saints at Las Vegas Raiders - September 21st, 2020". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved September 23, 2020.
  35. ^ Dubow, Josh (October 5, 2020). "AP source: 10 Raiders players fined for COVID-19 violations". APNews.com. Retrieved November 10, 2020.
  36. ^ "Las Vegas Raiders at New York Jets - December 6th, 2020". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved December 18, 2020.
  37. ^ Goodman, Max (December 9, 2020). "What Made Darren Waller's Record-Setting Performance Possible Against Jets?". SI.com. Retrieved November 10, 2020.
  38. ^ "Los Angeles Chargers at Las Vegas Raiders - December 17th, 2020". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved December 18, 2020.
  39. ^ "Miami Dolphins at Las Vegas Raiders - December 26th, 2020". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved December 26, 2020.
  40. ^ "Las Vegas Raiders at Denver Broncos - January 3rd, 2021". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved January 7, 2021.
  41. ^ "2020 Player Stats - Receiving". NFL.com. Retrieved January 5, 2021.
  42. ^ Dajani, Jordan (September 10, 2022). "Raiders' Darren Waller agrees to a three-year, $51 million extension, making him the highest-paid tight end". CBS Sports.com. Retrieved September 10, 2022.
  43. ^ a b c Serby, Steve (September 27, 2020). "Darren Waller overcame drug addiction to become Raiders' breakout star". New York Post. Retrieved January 14, 2022.
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  45. ^ Kudo, Hikaru (January 11, 2022). "Raiders Asking to Support Waller's Walter Payton Nomination". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved January 14, 2022.