After a nine-year career as an NFL offensive lineman, playing in 141 career games at both left guard and left tackle, with 137 starts, and a Super Bowl ring, you could understand if Daryn Colledge decided to relax in retirement. Instead, he decided to put on a different uniform.
After five years with the Green Bay Packers, three years with the Arizona Cardinals, and one season with the Miami Dolphins, Colledge is now a Specialist in the United States Army, having joined the Idaho National Guard back in March. He is currently at Fort Eustis, Virginia, undergoing training as a Black Hawk helicopter mechanic.
"When I decided to step away from professional sports I wanted to fall back on my degree of communications, and I did that, but soon realized that world didn't appeal to me," Colledge said in a article released by the Army and quoted by Brock Vergakis in The Virginian-Pilot.
"I came from a business where you're in a fight all the time, and it's a physical team thing. I didn't find that in the normal day-to-day life. Then I saw that being a soldier would keep me hands-on, active and keep me in that team environment that I craved and needed so much.”
Colledge tweeted when he initially enlisted that he had signed his “longest term deal of all time,” an eight year contract with the Army National Guard. His joining the National Guard led to comparisons to another former Arizona Cardinals player, Pat Tillman, who left the league to join the Army Rangers. Tillman was killed in Afghanistan in 2004.
"Pat is a hero. I'm just a man working in the shadow of a giant. Just trying to catch up," Colledge wrote on Twitter.
Colledge added, in explaining his decision, that, “After all my time in the NFL, traveling, meeting, and supporting the troops, I’ve decided to step up and stand shoulder to shoulder with them.”
Colledge, 34, will complete his Advanced Individual Training as a Black Hawk mechanic, before returning back to Idaho. He will be required to attend training one weekend and month, as well as an annual two-week training period. Colledge said, in the Army article, "Mechanics are lucky enough to get to serve over 60 days a year, and I plan on filling all of those days plus the opportunities to volunteer for other missions, like fire suppression and search and rescue. For me, it's not just a hobby, I'll be in there full time if they allow me."
The Virginian-Pilot article also indicates Colledge plans to reenlist once his initial term contract is complete.
(H/T to SlotMachinePlayer)