Daryn Colledge had given it thought for a few years, even considering it immediately after his NFL playing days were over after the 2014 season.
On Tuesday, the former Boise State football standout and Super Bowl champion announced his next adventure in life: enlisting in the Idaho Army National Guard for at least the next eight years.
Colledge, 34, will begin 10 weeks of basic training in South Carolina next month before going to Virginia for job training.
Eventually, in the fall, he will start operating out of Gowen Field in Boise, serving as a mechanic on UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters in the 168th General Support Aviation Battalion.
A licensed pilot who owns his own airplane, Colledge has long been interested in flight, and hopes to work his way up to a crew chief on the Black Hawk, flying with the team, operating machine guns or the cable on rescue missions, among other duties.
“I’d been thinking about it for quite a while, almost went active duty about two years ago, but to be able to be based in Boise was a big reason I chose the National Guard,” said Colledge, who has made Boise his post-retirement home.
“My wife (Megan) and family (two small daughters) had followed me around for a decade, and I wasn’t about to make that happen again.”
Colledge played on the offensive line for nine seasons in the NFL, with the Green Bay Packers (2006-10), Arizona Cardinals (2011-13) and Miami Dolphins (2014). He won a Super Bowl with the Packers after the 2010 season.
Colledge, who started 144 of 148 games in the NFL, made $24.6 million during his career, according to spotrac.com, which tracks professional sports salaries.
During the 2013 season in Arizona, Colledge discussed with Megan that he was considering entering active duty once the season was completed, but the birth of their second daughter the previous summer caused him to put it on the back burner.
After retiring following the 2014 campaign and settling in Boise, he had some time to think, and he continued to be drawn to service.
“I think it’s something that’s always been there,” said Colledge, who was born and raised in Alaska and has a long history of military service in his family. “I have such a belief in this country. I’ve done the things to take care of my family, now I want to be in the place to protect those things.
“The bonus of being in the National Guard is the opportunity to serve my fellow friends and the community of Boise, Idaho, and the state itself. Getting to do things like firefighting. Getting to do search and rescue. ... But I think that anybody who is paying attention knows that we live in an ever-changing world. ... You saw what happened in Brussels (Tuesday) morning. The world’s changing, service is something that’s gone to the side. Anyone that realizes innocent people are being hurt, you want to right those wrongs, protect them.”
Soon after Colledge announced his next step, social media went wild, including praise from ESPN’s Adam Schefter and several national websites.
“The attention, that doesn’t mean much at all, but I know if I can do it, others can,” Colledge said. “If this gets five people to consider it, to sign up, then that’s awesome.”
Colledge was sworn in by his father-in-law, a retired major in the Air Force. Colledge’s brother is active duty military in the Army. Finishing his career at 310 pounds, Colledge has dropped about 40 pounds in the year since he retired.
“I’ll need to lose about 30 more, and I’m pretty sure boot camp will knock off close to that many,” he said.
Daryn Colledge file
▪ Born: Feb. 11, 1982
▪ Hometown: North Pole, Alaska
▪ Residence: Boise
▪ College: Boise State (redshirted 2001, played 2002-05; named to WAC All-Decade team in 2010)
▪ NFL career: Green Bay Packers 2006-10 (selected in the second round of the 2006 draft, Super Bowl XLV champion); Arizona Cardinals 2011-13; Miami Dolphins 2014
▪ Family: Wife, Megan; daughters Camryn (4) and Regan (2)