Darren Waller, Son, Brother, Pro-Football Player, Musician, Producer, Seeker wrote in March 2020, “We are strong, resilient people who are capable of displaying love, kindness and patience in the most violent of storms. Remember all of the tough times and uncertain situations you have endured. We’re lucky to still have life.”
Born on September 13, 1992 in Landover, Maryland, this not yet 30-year-old has ingrained in his spirit the experiences of someone much older. As a gifted football player who shined at Georgia Tech and was drafted in Round 6 of the NFL Draft, Darren has experienced the thrills of sports victories. Along the way he has also suffered at the hands of the demons of addiction.
Darren Waller was born to Dorian and Charlena Waller. Along with his sister Deanna he was raised in Colorado Springs, Colorado and Marietta, Georgia. His love of music which he pursues with a passion when not on the football field can be traced through his DNA to his Great-Grandfather, Thomas Wright “Fats” Waller.” Fats” Waller in his 39 short years on earth made an indelible mark on the world of music, laying the groundwork for the modern jazz piano while recording hundreds of songs which earned him a place in the Grammy Hall of Fame.
Currently a standout tight end for the Las Vegas Raiders wearing number 83, Darren Waller was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the 6th round of the 2015 NFL Draft. Naturally gifted, Darren worked hard to perfect his skills on the football field. His large frame, 6’6”, 255 lbs., betrays his agility, dexterity as well as speed which has earned him a spot on the list of most recognized pass catchers in the National Football League at the end of the 2020/2021 Season.
Between May 7th, 2015 when the Baltimore Ravens signed Darren to a four-year contract with a signing bonus to his current record-breaking season for the Las Vegas Raiders, Mr. Waller was lost, saved, redeemed and reborn as a Person and a Player. Darren’s rocky journey began near the beginning of his first season when he was placed on the injured reserve list by the Ravens on October 29,2015, effectively ending his rookie season.
Battling pain and recovery to regain his spot on the team during the 2016 pre-season, Darren Waller was found to be in violation of the NFL substance abuse policy. He was suspended for the first 4 games of the 2016 season.
The roller coaster ride of addiction for Darren Waller continued into the preseason of 2017. He was again found to be in violation of substance abuse policy. Darren was this time suspended for 1 year without pay. Soon after the shattering news of the one-year suspension without pay, Darren came face to face with the demon of addiction now controlling his life. After an overdose experience with pills, Darren summoned up his inner strengths and decided that he would take control of his life.
Darren Waller sought help at an in-patient rehabilitation center supplemented with attending ongoing twelve-step meetings which continues to this day. During his time in recovery, Darren searched his mind, navigated his soul as well as strengthened his body to heal. The depths of drug abuse which included opiates, Xanax and cocaine found him working as a grocery store clerk instead of catching a pass in the end zone.
When Darren Waller stared into the abyss of narcotics addiction, he saw the determined talented body of an athlete driven by the rhythm of music in his being staring back at him. He pledged to himself that he would overcome the power of narcotics redeeming his life from their grips.
Throughout the rehabilitation process Darren Waller concentrated on working out, physically, intellectually, spiritually while expanding his musical talents. He continues to immerse himself in reading, movies, art, along with all forms of media and current events.
Upon completing his immediate rehabilitation, proving himself drug free to the NFL, he was re-instated on September 1, 2018. Relegated to the practice squad by The Ravens, The Oakland Raiders came calling, signing him off the practice squad on November 26, 2018. During his shortened 2018 season with the Raiders, Darren proved he had maintained his football expertise with 6 receptions for 75 yards.
Willing to share his experiences openly and honestly, Darren Waller was featured in an episode of the HBO/NFL documentary Hard Knocks. It was then that the entire league, coaches, players, administrators, owners as well as fans learned what it took for Darren Waller to stare addiction in the face and tackle it for a loss.
Since signing with the Oakland Raiders, they have moved into a new era, moving to a new stadium, and taking on the name of the Las Vegas Raiders. This new era for the Raiders is symbolic of a personal new era for Darren Waller. In playing 2 complete seasons for the Raiders, 2018 and 2019, Darren has bested his career records. He completed the 2019 Season with 90 receptions for 1,145 yards and the 2020 Season with 107 receptions for 1,196 yards. The record he is most proud of and wants to share with the world is that he has beaten back the beast of drug addiction.
Darren is concentrating on his music career and has proudly announced the release of his latest creative project entitled Wall Street out now on all streaming platforms. He pursues his musical career under the name of D Wall and has completed five music videos to accompany the release of Wall Street.
Not forgetting the fight with drug addiction, he has established The Darren Waller Foundation. The mission of the Darren Waller Foundation is to provide young people the tools necessary to avoid addiction to drugs and alcohol. With a motto that states, “Dealing Hope to At Risk Youth”, The Darren Waller Foundation supports youth and their families during their recovery and treatment. Based on his personal journey, the Darren Waller Foundation is supported by corporate donors and administered by an Executive Board that includes Waller Family Members.
“There is no obstacle we can’t overcome, no pain we can’t heal from, and no situation that isn’t ultimately working for our good. We can derive positivity from anything if we have the right perspective.” Darren Waller, March 2020