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Darren Waller says he could no longer give 100 percent to football

Earlier this week, Giants tight end Darren Waller confirmed what many had expected for weeks — he’s retiring from football. In the video announcing his decision, he explained that he obtained clarity from a near-death experience in November.

Speaking more recently to TMZ, via Jenna Lemoncelli of the New York Post, Waller said he walked away because he could no longer give his all to the game.

“Football was a big part of me, something that I loved since I was a kid. But there was also this element that I continued to do it because I knew it was a tool for people to accept me as well,” Waller said. “I reached a point where I don’t have that 100 percent to give to the process. I don’t think that’s fair to teammates, or fans, or organizations that are expecting me to give that. That’s why I came to the decision I made.”

Waller now wants to focus on his music.

“I definitely want to pour a lot into my creativity,” Waller said. “I want to do things that I want to do and I’m going to invest time in that. But I’m also going to continue to be what I’ve done for addiction and mental health, that kind of advocacy. . . .

“I want to see the world. I want to travel. I want to be more involved in my family’s lives, be a better friend be a better sponsor, just be more present in the lives of people because I don’t really feel like I have been while chasing football.”

Anyone who isn’t all in with football should retire. The game is too demanding, in every way. And it’s a relatively short part of the lives of most who play the game.

Chuck Noll referred to the period after retirement from playing as “your life’s work.” And that’s the right way to look at it. Even if the post-football exploits never lead to the kind of money or notoriety than playing the game did, a player’s post-football life will last a lot longer than his time on the field.