Giants TE Darren Waller Offers Frustrating Update on Retirement

Giants tight end Darren Waller opens up about retirement rumors.

Getty New York Giants tight end Darren Waller spoke on retirement rumors ahead of NFL free agency.

Typically, if an NFL player is considering retirement, they’ll finalize their decision ahead of free agency and the new league year so that their organization can plan accordingly. In the case of New York Giants tight end Darren Waller, however, it appears that Big Blue might be left in the dark.

The Athletic’s NYG insider Dan Duggan revealed the details of an exclusive interview with Waller on March 7. The headliner? The key offensive piece is still “undecided at the moment.”

“It’s really the idea of signing up for another journey,” Waller told The Athletic. “It’s tough, it’s long, it requires a lot. And if you’re not fully bought into every single thing of the process, it’s going to be tough.”

“I feel like at the end of the day, you’re doing guys a disservice if you’re not all the way in,” the veteran playmaker added. “So those are the kinds of things I’m taking into account.”

The Giants acquired Waller to build around Daniel Jones after the 2022 playoff run, trading one of the draft picks they received for wide receiver Kadarius Toney. Unfortunately, the two-time 1,000-yard tight end has been about as helpful as the first-round flop so far.

Giants’ Darren Waller ‘Doesn’t Expect to Decide’ on Retirement Ahead of Free Agency

Although Waller noted that he “know[s] the team is getting prepared for a new season” and is “not trying to have it be this drawn-out thing,” he still doesn’t expect to decide before free agency according to Duggan.

“I’ll be deciding pretty soon, but I haven’t made a decision yet,” the 31-year-old stated candidly. “[The Giants] haven’t put an ultimatum on me. I have a general awareness of pretty soon they may want to make a decision in the draft or things like that. I’m taking all of that into account.”

Waller also seemed to urge the Giants to plan as if he won’t be returning.

“Me not being fully committed, they can make decisions as if I won’t be there because they don’t have the luxury just to sit around and wait when they could be making moves and decisions,” he voiced.

Why Is Darren Waller Contemplating Retirement?

The obvious reason for Waller to retire would be his extensive injury history — which bled into his first campaign with the Giants in 2023. The pass-catcher missed a total of five outings last season, accumulating 552 receiving yards and one touchdown while he was on the field.

According to Waller, the injury history does factor in, but it’s not the sole reason he’s contemplating retirement in 2024.

“That’s part of the equation,” he said, per Duggan. “But that’s not the driving force behind making the decision. It isn’t just frustration from a health standpoint. It’s a lot deeper than that.”

“I’m not just coming back to collect an extra check, because that’s not what I’m trying to do or who I’m trying to be,” Waller went on. “At this point in my life, I’m blessed to be able to be more than OK financially. Plus, if the only reason I’m doing something is because of an amount of money, I know that’s not a decision I need to be making.”

Having said all that, the tight end did insist that if he does decide to come back, he’ll be all-in on performing to the best of his ability.

“I feel like there’s plenty left in the tank,” he expressed, “and that’s why there’s still the ability to go both ways with the decision.”

In the end, Waller concluded that “it could go either direction” right now. “I don’t feel like I’ve arrived at the point where it’s like the concrete answer that I can be like, ‘All right, that’s my truth,’” he relayed to The Athletic.

The Giants currently have Daniel Bellinger and Tyree Jackson on the roster behind Waller, with Lawrence Cager in the mix as a restricted free agent in 2024.

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