Waller, one of the top tight ends in the NFL, missed a few games with knee and back issues and couldn’t help Las Vegas secure a playoff spot sooner. He missed games between Week 13 and Week 17.
He returned for the team’s win over the 로스앤젤레스 차저스 주 18, which helped secure a playoff spot after all. Waller had two catches for 22 yards in the game.
Not being able to play was challenging for Waller. The one-time Pro Bowler has been forthcoming about his battle with addiction and sobriety and said Wednesday being out of the lineup was difficult.
“Because of my disease of addiction, that can have me thinking all kinds of crazy things. 그래서, I’ve got to make sure that I’m talking about those things when I have all that idle time,” Waller told reporters, 통하다 ESPN.
“I’ve got my therapist. Stay going to meetings. Stayed in the playbook. Working on music. Just staying solid, keeping my head out of that idle time and just into things that I enjoy. And stay into the game of football as much as I can.”
Waller will be with the team when the Raiders play the Cincinnati Bengals 토요일.
“It’s tough, 솔직히, because I’m a human being at the end of the day, and I’m still trying to shed my old thinking patterns. 그래서, when I’m not out there [놀이], I can think these thoughts of, ‘The team is balling without me being in there. Am I useless?’ These irrational thoughts,” 그는 말했다.
“I had to be willing to stay in the practices that I have that bring me back down from that place — ‘Whoa, 우와, 우와, it’s not even that anymore.’ — I’m not out there performing, 그 자체로, but I still have a role on this team. But sometimes my mind can tell me, ‘Ah, 남자, you ain’t really doing nothing. You out.’”
Waller, who joined the Raiders in 2019, finished this season with 55 잡다 665 야드와 두 번의 터치다운.
He was the Raiders’ nominee for Walter Payton Man of the Year in tribute to his charitable efforts off the field. He started the Waller Foundation in 2020 to help children overcome drug and alcohol addiction and to support families during their recovery and treatment.