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After battling years of addiction and drug abuse, NFL Tight End Darren Waller joins The Pivot to tell his story of hitting rock bottom and how he climbed his way back into the league and today is one of the NFL’s top players in the game.
Darren details his addiction battle starting at a young age and takes the guys through years of him playing at the college and NFL level where he played most of his early career under the influence. It started off with pain medicine to pills and spiraled into anything that could give him a quick fix.
Playing through so many games high and lying to teammates, coaches, friends and family was the hardest part of his battle.
Fred relates to how difficult playing through injury causes dependence on pain medication and how the addiction can creep up on you when it becomes part of a normal routine.
Ryan asks what was the moment that flipped the switch for him to know that he needed to change…And Darren recalls a terrifying incident where he pulled into a parking lot and sat in his car breaking out into convulsions before waking up hours later all alone in a cold sweat not knowing where he was. At the time, His trainers for the Baltimore Ravens said his toxicology report indicated if he didn’t get medical help he wouldn’t be able to survive much longer which led him into the NFL Drug Rehab program.
Through long periods of work and recovery, Darren wasn’t sure if football would be in his future again and he humbly began a job at a grocery store stocking shelves and bagging goods. Channing in awe of his size, makes the joke that he had to be the largest human in the aisles everyday and what customers would do when they saw him.
Since his comeback, the Las Vegas Raiders Tight End has played his best football the past couple years, being named to the Pro Bowl and more importantly has found balance and alternatives to keep his mind at peace away from the field. Darren spends a lot of his free time recording music, podcasting, volunteering and connecting with nature and faith.
After a lot of off the field issues and mishaps overshadowed the Raiders on field success, Waller expressed his excitement for new head coach Josh McDaniels to bring an offensive mindset to the organization and a positive change in the locker room as well.
A New episode of The Pivot releases every Tuesday at Noon Eastern with Special Pivot Moments dropping on Friday afternoons.
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