Darren Waller didn’t see the trade that sent him from the Raiders to the Giants coming.
But now the tight end is slated to be a key weapon for quarterback Daniel Jones and the New York offense in 2023.
But Waller’s health will be a significant factor in whether the deal works out well for the Giants. He has missed 14 games due to injury over the last two seasons, including eight in 2022.
Waller seems to understand the questions about his availability, addressing the issue during his introductory press conference on Wednesday.
“I’m feeling great right now,” Waller said, via BigBlueView.com. “The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make going into this offseason is making sure I’m peaking at the right time. I feel like something for me to help elevate my game to such a high level was working myself so hard in those 2018, 2019, 2020 offseasons to where it was almost too hard, and that became my norm.
“Now, it’s about how I become more efficient with it and making sure I’m peaking when the season starts, not showing up to training camp having worked so hard that I’m almost exhausted. That doesn’t set me up for success, or the team up for success.”
Waller noted that in dealing with his hamstring injury last year, he literally could not run — which meant he couldn’t just gut his way through it.
“When you continue to re-aggravate it at practice trying to come back and trying to be out there for your team as quick as possible it really limits you because you literally cannot run no matter what you try to do,” Waller said.
Waller caught 28 passes for 388 yards with three touchdowns last season. In 2011, he had 55 receptions or 665 yards with two TDs.
He broke out with 90 catches for 1,145 yards with three TDs back in 2019 and followed that with a 107-catch, 1,196-yard, nine-touchdown season in 2020.
“I believe wholeheartedly in myself,” Waller said. “I believe through action and consistent performance Giants fans will believe as well.
“They can have questions at this point about my health, those are legitimate concerns but I believe I’ve addressed those issues and I’m willing to come out here and to be the best I can be, to be a weapon for this team, a tool that this team can use to get to that next level that they want to go to. That’s exactly what I’m going to do.”