The Las Vegas Raiders caused quite the stir in the early days of free agency when they pulled off a surprise trade of Darren Waller to the New York Giants. The star tight end has been one of the best players on the team for a few years now and was a fan favorite. The fact that the team only got a third-round pick for him didn’t sit well with many.
Regardless, Waller is a Giant now and both sides have moved on. The tight end just got married and has established roots in Las Vegas. His new wife is Kelsey Plum, who is a star player on the Las Vegas Aces of the WNBA. While Waller has been involved in trade rumors for over a year now, he wasn’t expecting to get traded this offseason. In fact, head coach Josh McDaniels recently said that the team had plans for Waller to be part of the team for a long time. He was very surprised when he heard the news he was getting sent to New York.
“I did not see this coming,” Waller said in his introductory press conference with the Giants. “I was getting ready to just do everything I could to make myself available for the Raiders and get ready for everything that was going to start in mid-April. It caught me off guard, but it’s the nature of the business.”
Waller Not Upset About Getting Traded
Waller’s rocky start to his NFL career is well-documented. He was suspended for two straight seasons for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy. He was able to turn his life around and landed with the Raiders in 2018. He quickly became one of the most dynamic players in the NFL and a recognizable superstar. Though things didn’t end the way he would’ve liked them to in Las Vegas, he has no hard feelings against the franchise.
“It’s a lot of positive emotions – a lot of gratitude,” Waller said. “Like you said, getting a clean start, a clean slate with the Raiders was amazing for me. Moving to Vegas and setting up roots there and just getting involved with the community, making friends outside of football and just great people inside the game of football, it’s been a great place to continue to be home for me and my wife. Grateful for my time spent there. Grateful for everything that they’ve ever done for me, supporting me in my causes, my foundation, my interests. Just grateful. I focus on that as I move forward, and now I’m grateful to be here.”
Waller Discusses How He Plans to Stay Healthy
There was a time when Waller looked like one of the two best tight ends in the NFL. The last two years were not as good for him as he missed a combined 14 games due to injury. He had a chance to discuss what he’s doing this offseason to ensure that he can stay healthy in 2023.
“I’m feeling great right now,” Waller said. “I know for me, the biggest adjustment I’ve had to make going into this offseason is making sure that I’m peaking at the right time. Something that helped me to elevate my game at such a high level was working myself so hard in those 2018, 2019, 2020 offseasons, to where it was almost too hard, and that became my norm. Now it’s about how do I become more efficient with it and making sure I’m peaking when the season starts, not showing up to training camp having worked so hard that I’m almost exhausted.”