After spending the last five seasons with the Raiders and being traded this offseason to Big Blue, Waller claimed he wasn't surprised by the move but admitted he didn't anticipate being relocated to New York.
"Not totally shocked," Waller said this week, via Adam Hill of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "I had heard some things. There were different moments throughout the year that I heard I may be traded or I may not. So the actual event of it wasn't too shocking. But I didn't expect it to be the Giants."
Waller, a sixth-round pick by the Ravens in the 2015 draft, spent his first two seasons with Baltimore. In 2017, Waller received a one-year suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs, while also struggling with addiction to drugs and alcohol. Waller spoke about this difficult period in his life to former teammate Steve Smith Sr. in 2020.
A year after his suspension, Waller was signed off the Ravens' practice squad, and in 2019 he started all 16 games for the Raiders. In 2020, Waller earned his first Pro Bowl nod and set career highs in receptions (107), receiving yards (1,196) and touchdowns (nine). However, in the last two seasons, Waller has been injured and missed a handful of games.
Even though Waller is not suiting up for the Silver and Black anymore, the 30-year-old tight end expressed gratitude for the time he spent with the Raiders.
"I drive by the practice facility and I've got nothing but great memories of being with the Raiders," Waller said. "And the Raiders have given me an opportunity to turn my life around, take care of my family, do events like this. So I'm just grateful for my memories here. So grateful for the time I get to spend with my wife. You know, just simple things."
Despite being traded this offseason, Waller has had the chance to build chemistry with his new teammates during New York's minicamp sessions in June.
"It's been great," he said. "It's been a great challenge. I love a good challenge and just forming a new relationship with my teammates. They're really excited about winning. They're really solid about doing things the right way and continuing to build a foundation on what they started last year. I'm just excited to be a part of it."
The TE will look to continue to build that foundation in 2023 with New York. Waller will also be back in Las Vegas when the Giants take on the Raiders at Allegiant Stadium in Week 9.