Darren Waller shouts out Raiders in retirement announcement

Things didn't end perfectly in Las Vegas, but Darren Waller still has a lot of love for the Raiders.
Former Las Vegas Raiders TE Darren Waller.
Former Las Vegas Raiders TE Darren Waller. / Jeff Bottari/GettyImages

After months of rumors and speculation, Darren Waller has officially announced that he's retiring from the NFL. The former Las Vegas Raiders Pro Bowler announced the news in a lengthy video and cited a number of reasons why he's stepping away, including a previously unreported serious injury scare.

It's easy to forget that Waller was a monster for the Raiders in 2019 and 2020 before injuries got the better of him. Though was traded unceremoniously last offseason, Waller still has a lot of love for the team and shouted them out during his retirement announcement.

"I can't say enough about the Raiders - Oakland and Las Vegas," Waller said. "Reggie McKenzie, GM at the time in 2018, and coach [Jon] Gruden, just taking a chance off of seeing me running around in a pregame workout and that opportunity being enough to change my life. My boy Frank Smith, who was my tight ends coach for three years ... those were the best years of my life playing football."

Waller holds the Raiders' all-time record for receptions in a season with 107 so he's still a big part of the team's history. He was an incredible story when the team found signed him away from the Baltimore Ravens' practice squad.

Though fans grew frustrated with his injury issues, Waller never bad mouthed the franchise and always remained a professional. He may have never become the Hall of Fame-level player many thought he could be, but there was a period where he was arguably the best tight end in the NFL.

It's a shame to see Waller having to retire at the young age of 31 but there's nothing wrong with him acknowledging that he's just not that committed to football anymore. It's certainly better than him not taking football too seriously while cashing a paycheck. Hey, he's still young enough that he could return after a year off.

If the Raiders weren't stacked at tight end right now, I'd say a reunion in Las Vegas could be exciting but that's unlikely to happen. Regardless, Waller's time with the Raiders deserves to be celebrated.