After overcoming drugs and alcohol addiction, Darren Waller named to first Pro Bowl

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After overcoming drugs and alcohol addiction, Darren Waller named to first Pro Bowl

Las Vegas Raiders tight end Darren Waller has had an outstanding season but still he couldn't believe that he was named to his first Pro Bowl. Waller, who is second among the tight ends when it comes to receiving yards this season, was in a dark place several years ago as he was battling alcohol and drugs addiction.

The Baltimore Ravens, who selected Waller in the sixth round of the 2015 NFL draft, moved on from the tight end in 2018. The Raiders gave Waller another chance and that turned out to be a great decision. "It’s pretty unbelievable,” Waller said of being named to the Pro Bowl Monday, as revealed on Raiders Wire.

For the second straight year, Waller is statistically among the best tight ends in the NFL. "Honestly, I never really thought anything like this would happen,” Waller continued. “This was never my goal. I never really had big goals or anything.

Just to be here is definitely a blessing. I’m speechless right now, reflecting on life and everything that I’ve been through. It’s an incredible experience and I appreciate the people and players and coaches who had a vote in considering me.

I really appreciate them all respecting how I play”.

Waller, 28, feels he has improved

"I think I’ve grown a lot,” Waller added. “There’s not any personnel groups where I would automatically come out of the game like last year.

Like two back personnel I wouldn’t be in much, but this year I’m in there for blocking. I feel like my stats went up just because of that. Just developing toward being a great every-down tight end”. Waller is close to his thirties but still he is willing to work hard and improve certain areas of his game.

"I definitely feel like as long as I’ll be playing I’ll have to continue to grow and learn to deal with blocking and things like that because it just isn’t natural for me, but I feel like I’m getting there.

That’s where I feel like my development is coming from”. Waller, who has been now three years sober, recently opened up about some of his past struggles. "When I was a teenager, I was a real sensitive kid," Waller told CBS Sports.

"I didn't really fit in much, and that kinda bothered me, so when I was 15, I started doing drugs and drinking and stuff. It was my way of kinda making friends and living out my emotions. I thought that drugs were just the recipe for me to get through the stress. I know I became addicted quickly."