Von Miller appeared everywhere this off-season. The Denver Broncos linebacker granted interviews to Ellen, The Today Show and The Late, Late Show. He presented a Grammy. He competed on Dancing with the Stars.
Ah, the rewards of being the Super Bowl MVP.
“Nothing comes without success on the football field,” Miller said in a phone interview. “I think our success on the football field prepared all of us to a certain level of stardom.”
The DeSoto and Texas A&M alum already was a recognizable star with his designer glasses, his designer shoes and his designer sack dance. He had five sacks, 11 tackles, two forced fumbles and an interception in the Broncos’ three postseason wins. He earned Super Bowl MVP honors after making Carolina quarterback Cam Newton miserable in the Broncos’ 24-10 victory.
Now, Miller graces the cover of the NFL’s official 2016 Record & Fact Book, dances on a commercial for EA Sports’ Madden NFL 17 and unveiled the first pair of Kanye West’s “Yeezy” football cleats made by adidas. He also now has endorsement deals with Microsoft, Chef’s Cut, Old Spice, Muzik and Best Buy.
“It’s been a true blessing,” Miller said. “I’m loving it. I wouldn’t want it the other way around for sure. I like people to like me and notice me. It’s something I enjoy and want to keep my production on the field, so I continue to get these opportunities.”
Oh, yeah, and Miller signed a six-year, $114.5 million contract with the Broncos in the off-season, getting $70 million guaranteed. The deal, though, did not come without some angst.
On June 8, the Broncos released details of the six-year, $114.5 million deal that Miller rejected because only $38.5 million was fully guaranteed. Miller, 27, did not mask his anger at John Elway, cropping the Broncos general manager out of an Instagram photo from the White House while threatening to sit out the season.
“There was definitely some uncertainty,” Miller said. “I think all the way up until the [deadline on July 15], I was even on the fence. I wanted to play football. I really wanted to be here with the Denver Broncos, and I wanted to play this year. But from a business standpoint, it just didn’t make sense to come and play under those circumstances. But I think we got everything aired out. The ultimate goal for me was to be a Denver Bronco, and I’m here, so we got that achieved.”
A phone conversation with Elway, initiated by Miller, helped smooth differences in negotiations.
“I think it helped a tremendous amount,” Miller said. “I’m not an agent. I didn’t really have a lot of conversations with Mr. Ellis [team president Joe Ellis] and Mr. Elway at that time, so I just felt like I wanted to talk to them man-to-man and speak from the heart and really just put the human aspect back into negotiations. I think we got all that done.”
Miller began his 2016 season by playing 56 of 73 snaps in the Broncos’ 21-20 victory over the Panthers on Thursday night. He had a sack, three tackles, a tackle for loss and a quarterback hit.
Miller, a favorite for NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors, plans to be better than he was during the regular season in 2015 when he made 11 sacks. How much better?
“I’ve got crazy goals,” Miller said. “I like to keep my goals to myself and with my teammates. I just want to grind. I’m going to try my hardest to get them all.
“If I sat down and told you all my goals, it’d create some negativity because the type of dreams and the type of goals I have, they’re up there. It would be easy for guys to be like, ‘Ah, he’s not going to be able to do that.’ I just don’t need that type of energy. I just want to keep my goals to myself and grind it out and try to get them.”
My five cents
1 Former Arlington Martin star Lane Taylor won the starting left guard job with the Packers. Green Bay cut Josh Sitton, a three-time Pro Bowler, to promote Taylor, who has two starts in four seasons. “I have all of the confidence in the world in Lane. He’s earned this opportunity,” Packers coach Mike McCarthy told Green Bay reporters.
2Mike Evans caught 74 passes for 1,206 yards last season, but the former Texas A&M star saw his touchdowns fall from 12 as a rookie to three. He also dropped 12 passes. Evans lost 11 pounds in the off-season to 220 pounds.
3The Vikings gave up too much to get Sam Bradford, but feeling it can win now, Minnesota was desperate. The Philadelphia Eagles paid Bradford’s $11 million signing bonus, but the Vikings owe him $7 million this season. Both teams overpaid for a quarterback who sports a 25-37-1 record.
4Jared Goff is not ready for prime time, with the No. 1 overall pick beginning the season third on the Los Angeles Rams’ depth chart behind Case Keenum and Sean Mannion. Goff went 22 for 49 for 232 yards with two touchdowns, two interceptions and three fumbles in the preseason.
5The Eagles weakened themselves in the short term with the trade of Sam Bradford, but it could pay big dividends in the future. Carson Wentz gets valuable reps as the starter this season, and the Eagles, who traded four picks to trade up for Wentz, receive two high picks from the Vikings.
Brock Osweiler, who signed a four-year, $72 million contract with the Houston Texans in the off-season, went 27 of 39 for 297 yards, two touchdowns and an interception in three preseason games.
Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford was on the field for nine series in the preseason, scoring no touchdowns. The former Highland Park star had a 73.6 passer rating.
2016 NFL Draft
2016 NFL Draft
Dane Brugler of CBS Sports and NFLDraftScout.com gives his early-season draft board for the 2017 draft:
Top 10 seniors
1. Jonathan Allen, DE, Ala., 6-3, 292, 4.85
2. Desmond King, CB, Iowa, 5-10, 203, 4.53
3. Dawuane Smoot, DE, Illinois, 6-3, 255, 4.83
4. Tim Williams, DE/OLB, Ala., 6-3, 237, 4.76
5. Jake Butt, TE, Mich., 6-5, 250, 4.74
6. Reuben Foster, MLB, Ala., 6-6, 242, 4.57
7. O.J. Howard, TE, Ala., 6-6, 242, 4.57
8. Taco Charlton, DL, Mich., 6-5, 285, 4.87
9. Cordrea Tankersley, CB, Clem., 6-0, 195, 4.48
10. Dan Feeney, OG, Indiana, 6-4, 310, 5.09
Top-10 draft-eligible underclassmen
1. Myles Garrett, DE, T.A&M, 6-5, 262, 4.64
2. Malik McDowell, DT, Mich.St., 6-6, 285, 4.92
3. Teez Tabor, CB, Florida, 6-0, 192, 4.52
4. DeShone Kizer, QB, N.Dame, 6-4, 230, 4.84
5. Marlon Humphrey, CB, Ala., 6-0, 192, 4.49
6. Deshaun Watson, QB, Clem., 6-2, 210, 4.74
7. Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida St., 5-11, 206, 4.46
8. Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU, 6-1, 230, 4.52
9. JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, USC, 6-2, 220, 4.52
10. Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stan., 6-0, 202, 4.48
7 NFL starting quarterbacks from Texas, the most from any state. They are: Cincinnati’s Andy Dalton, Cleveland’s Robert Griffin III, Detroit’s Matthew Stafford, Indianapolis’ Andrew Luck, Los Angeles’ Case Keenum, Miami’s Ryan Tannehill and New Orleans’ Drew Brees.
The 49ers list TCU ex Jeremy Kerley as a starter at receiver and punt returner. San Francisco traded with the Lions for Kerley, who signed with the Lions in the off-season after five years with the Jets.
The Seahawks kept only two quarterbacks, making Trevone Boykin their backup. The former TCU star completed 37 of 71 passes for 418 yards with a touchdown and an interception in the preseason.
Former Colleyville Heritage quarterback Christian Ponder was out of work most of the preseason, but he made the 49ers’ roster despite not signing until Aug. 16.
Robert Griffin III becomes the 25th quarterback to start for the Cleveland Browns since their rebirth in 1999.
Over the past 10 seasons, the New England Patriots have a 24-9 record in the first month of the season. That .727 winning percentage is the best in the league. They are followed by the Broncos (23-11, .676), Dallas Cowboys (22-11, .667) and Baltimore Ravens and Packers (both 22-12, .647).
The Eagles have seven new starters this season, four on offense and three on defense.
Information from The Sports Xchange was used in this report.