Ex-NFL Star Joins the National Guard

Arizona Cardinals guard Daryn Colledge (71) sits on the bench in the first half of an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013. (AP Photo/Bill Feig)Arizona Cardinals guard Daryn Colledge (71) sits on the bench in the first half of an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans, Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013. (AP Photo/Bill Feig)

Daryn Colledge, the retired offensive tackled who starred at Boise State before going on to a nine-year NFL career with the Arizona Cardinals, Miami Dolphins and Green Bay Packers, has joined the U.S. Army National Guard for an eight-year commitment.

The first six years are scheduled to active duty with the last two in the reserves, but Colledge told ESPN that he’ll likely transform those reserve years into another eight-year active duty commitment. After he completes a 10-week basic training, Colledge will serve as a 15T helicopter mechanic for UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters with a goal of becoming a Black Hawk crew chief. He’ll be based in Boise, ID.

Colledge is 34-year-old now and he’ll be going to training camp with men half his age.

“It’s just a little bit longer and a little more serious,” he said. “It’s going to be an awesome opportunity. It’s going to be a challenge to myself. I think basic training to me, it’s not combat. It’s the opportunity to go out and learn how to be a soldier and challenge yourself mentally and physically and try to get the most out of it. It’s just like anything else in the world. You get what you put in, and I get to put everything into it, and I expect to come out of it a changed man.”

Colledge comes from a military family and his brother is an Army officer. He was thinking about joining while he was still an active player and now he wants to give back.

“You play football, you chase the money, you chase the dream, you go up a long time doing that, and then I think you get to a certain point in your life, and you decide the things that are important to you,” he said. “For a long time it wasn’t about money for me. It became about other things, and I wanted to do something that was bigger than myself.”

Colledge retired from the NFL after the 2014 season and, according to Spotrac, Colledge earned $24.6 million in his career, which probably makes him the richest guy in basic training.