Ex-NFL Lineman Daryn Colledge Eschews the Good Life for 8-Year Military Commitment

CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 25, 2009: Offensive lineman Daryn Colledge #73 of the Green Bay Packers blocks during a game on October 25, 2009 against the Cleveland Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio. Green Bay won 31-3. 09-07129712 (Photo by: Tom Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images)

Former NFL lineman Daryn Colledge, known by many as the player who raised his helmet above his head each game at the end of the ceremonial “Star Spangled Banner,” has joined the Army National Guard.

Colledge, who stands at six-foot-four and weighed in at over 300 pounds during his days as an NFL guard, played nine years with the Packers, Dolphins, and the Cardinals before retiring in 2015. The Fairbanks, Alaska, native explained his signature gesture, “It was just a raise of the hat, a raise of the helmet to the people serving.”

A self-described “riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma,” who earned nearly $25 million during his NFL career tweeted last month:

The former Super Bowl XLV champion follows in the footsteps of another famous Cardinal who joined the military after spending many Sundays on the grid iron, Pat Tillman.

Colledge admits his enlistment doesn’t compare to Tillman’s, who lost his life in Afghanistan, gunned down by friendly fire and immortalized with a statue in his honor outside of the University of Phoenix Stadium .’

“I think you have to make decisions in life about what things you want to do and you want to be a part of, and this is something I want to be a part of,” Colledge asserted in an interview on “The Distant Replay Podcast” on ESPN Milwaukee.

“The men and women I met serving our country, who put their lives on the line for other people so that they can be safe, is the most inspiring thing I’ve ever seen,” he maintained. “And I wanted to stand shoulder to shoulder with them. And that’s my best place and my spot in life right now.”