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Darren Waller reveals near-death experience last season in retirement video

Darren Waller said good-bye to the game he loves Sunday night.

The tight end announced his retirement in a YouTube video, revealing a medical emergency that left him hospitalized played a part in his decision to call it quits.

Waller, whose overdose in 2017 scared him into sobriety, said he called 911 from his North Jersey apartment last November because of difficulty breathing. He feared for his life . . . again.

Symptoms began when he was driving home from shooting a video for his music career, and he believed he had contracted COVID for a third time. But once back to his apartment he began “shaking uncontrollably” and “losing consciousness.”

“I kept nodding [off] and couldn’t breathe, so I ended up calling 911,” Waller said, via Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post. “I think I’m talking clearly on the phone, but they can’t make out much of what I’m saying.”

While waiting for first responders, Waller said he stumbled to the couch.

“I’m there breathing deeply, and in between each breath, I’m yelling out, ‘Help!’ ” Waller said. “So maybe I could wake the neighbors up. I don’t know how long the time was — it felt like forever — and I’m like, ‘Damn, I’m dying on this couch and nobody knows.’ It was kind of similar to my overdose — like the power plug being pulled out and I couldn’t breathe anymore.”

Waller missed five games from Nov. 5 to his return to the field Dec. 17, going on injured reserve with a hamstring injury.

His explanation of his near-death experience left questions, but it helps explain why he is walking away from $35 million left in the final three years of his contract.

“I’m doing something [football] that I found a lot of joy in . . . but the passion has slowly been fading,” Waller said. “I feel like I spent most of my life doing what I should be doing. I’ve been a people-pleaser my whole life — somebody that has struggled with worth, confidence, feeling valuable.”

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