NFL Insider Sends Well Wishes to Former Ravens TE

Former Baltimore Ravens tight end Darren Waller retired this weekend after a scary incident last season.
Oct 26, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Darren Waller against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Ravens 26-18. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 26, 2015; Glendale, AZ, USA; Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Darren Waller against the Arizona Cardinals at University of Phoenix Stadium. The Cardinals defeated the Ravens 26-18. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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The decision to retire from the NFL is never an easy one, and for former Baltimore Ravens tight end Darren Waller, that decision was sadly one he was forced to make.

In a video announcing his retirement on Sunday, Waller, 31, described a frightening medical situation last season that led to his decision to hang up the cleats.

The New York Giants tight end suffered a hamstring injury during a Week 8 game against the New York Jets, and while he was away from the team, he had to spend three and a half days in the hospital with a serious illness and struggled to even breathe and stand up.

“I come out of that experience and I’m sitting in the hospital, 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,’” Waller said.

"Was pretty clear I almost just lost my life. I don’t know if I really feel like if I would’ve died that I would’ve felt great about how my life was going."

It doesn't help that Waller has dealt with a litany of personal issues in recent years. He battled addiction early in his career (which he has thankfully overcome) and recent went through a highly-publicized divorce with WNBA star Kelsey Plum.

With all he's been through, it's almost impossible to not feel bad for Waller. Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer echoed that popular sentiment, humbly wishing Waller the best in retirement.

"The other thing Waller mentioned was all the resources in place for him throughout his struggles, and that, for sure, is a great sign of progress for the league and the sport, particularly since issues of mental health were long taboo in the league," Breer writes.

"That he’s able to make the decision to walk away now, with that support in place, is a great thing, too."

A 2015 sixth-round pick out of Georgia Tech, Waller started four of the 18 games he played for the Ravens and caught 12 passes for 103 yards and two touchdowns. He would then go on to make a name for himself with the Las Vegas Raiders, then play one season with the Giants before calling it a career.

After all he's been through, one can only hope that Waller is happy heading into the next chapter of his life.

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Jon Alfano

JON ALFANO