The Las Vegas Raiders’ stud tight end, Darren Waller, took the time to take part in an interview with FanSided over the week. Here’s what you need to know.
If there was one word, to sum up, the 2021 season for the Las Vegas Raiders, that word would have to be “adversity”. No matter which period you look at through the season, it seemed the Silver and Black couldn’t catch a break, dealing with a series of misfortunes. For Darren Waller, adversity is nothing new.
Last week, the Raiders’ star tight end spoke with FanSided’s own Aryanna Prasad, to get his side of that adversity.
Las Vegas might’ve gone 2-0 immediately after the dismissal of head coach Jon Gruden, but according to Waller, this feat was anything but easy. Many of the coaches, including Rich Bisaccia, who would take on the role of interim head coach in Gruden’s absence, had been with coach Gruden for years.
“He’s been their leader. For [Gruden] to fall to the side, they had to step up and face some anxiety and a little bit of fear, but they conquered it”, Waller added.
The ’21 Walter Payton Man of the Year award nominee also shed some light on how the team, from coaches to players, united and overcame the loss of that leader.
“At the same time, [they] were fully invested in the guys that were on the team. It wasn’t about them or their egos”. This team-first mentality sparked a fire in the Raiders’ locker room, creating powerful bonds and relationships among each other.
"“I’m very impressed and honored to be a part of that team last year”."
Being fully invested in the players as opposed to himself is something that has always defined Bisaccia. A picture of the ’21 Raiders’ interim coach writing individual letters to players at the season’s end went viral, but this is something the coach has done thoroughly. Not only did he do this for players before the season-ending, per Waller, but he continues to do it even as part of a different franchise.
Waller had already been stepping up as a leader before the start of the season; After all, he was voted a captain by his peers in the locker room. A big part of this was simply showing up every day and set the standard, no matter the circumstance.
“There’s not going to be any areas in which I slack off or try to look for a shortcut”.
Using his life experience, the stud tight end feels the need to take advantage of every day. Pair that with the efforts of other leaders on the team, and everyone on the field takes notice, trying to replicate that energy.
Now with the ’21 season behind the Raiders, the team prepares for life with Josh McDaniels.