Set to turn 34 in March, Buffalo Bills linebacker Von Miller addressed his future in poignant, if not humorous, fashion.
“I hate saying the O-word, I hate saying old,” Miller said with a smile when talking to fellow new-century NFL alum and former Tennessee Titans All-Pro running back Chris Johnson. “I (also) hate saying the R-word, that’s retirement.”
Speaking with the former rusher Johnson, Miller addressed what the future holds after his 11th NFL season. Bills fans can rest assured that Miller sounds fully intent on returning for a second season in Western New York, one that ended prematurely due to a torn ACL suffered in the team’s Thanksgiving victory over the Detroit Lions. He’s set to turn 34 in March but that didn’t stop him from making a six-year, $120 million commitment to the Bills last spring after playing a supporting role in the Los Angeles Rams’ victorious run to last year’s championship.
Miller has racked up some famous numbers throughout his NFL career that began as the second overall pick with Denver in 2011. He’s refusing to count age among them.
“I still work out with the young guys. I’m still in the mix … I’m never too too old to not do this,” Miller said of his current activities with the Bills. “Mentally I’m still young. The body’s going to do what it’s going to do.”
Despite his mental youth, Miller has considered the factors of going out gracefully, which includes having his infant sons (including Victory, who was born on Feb. 8, the seven-year anniversary of his MVP performance with Denver in Super Bowl 50) “remember (him) playing.” The deciding factor, he explains, will be retiring on his own terms rather than being “kicked out.”
“Once the everyday process is too much for you, whether it’s coming in early or (going to) practice or meetings once you start getting tired mentally … retirement is just, it’s right around the corner,” Miller said. “This is a dream that I’ve always had. It’s been nice that I got on my knees and I prayed … I begged God to have success, begged God for the (collegiate) scholarship. You know, let me go out here and get a sack, let me prove it to the scouts. Let me get drafted here, let me win a Super Bowl. (There have) been times where I just got on my knees and I pray for this opportunity. I can’t just give it away like that.”
“My mom said, if you want to make God laugh, start making plans. I’m right here on my feet and I just take I just take it one day at a time.”
Miller remained a defensive threat in the Bills’ recent affairs, picking up eight sacks and 12 further quarterback hits in his first 11 games before the injury eliminated his postseason dreams.
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags