Second chances are something not everyone receives and even fewer people take advantage of. Von Miller was voted as a team captain Wednesday afternoon. To some that achievement might come off as to be expected. Your highest paid player, former Super Bowl MVP, and now face of the franchise should wear the “C” on his chest. However, sometimes you have to look back to see how far you’ve come.
July 24th, 2013
On a cloudy afternoon at training camp, local and national media gathered alike during the annual media barbecue. The Broncos would also send out select players to field your typical start of the season questions. Of course, Miller stood in line to appear. Miller was coming off his second consecutive Pro Bowl after finishing the 2012 season with 18 ½ sacks. However, it wasn’t his on the field performance that was under question.
Miller was currently being suspended four games for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy. Miller, with a stoic demeanor, took his seat in front of an array of cameras wearing a t-shirt and his signature framed glasses. After a few questions about the upcoming year, it was finally questioned. “Von is smoking marijuana a part of your life?” asked a Denver radio host. “Absolutely not,” replied Miller. At the time it was hard to take Miller on his word after all of the allegations. Miller would look to prove those doubters wrong.
The suspension was later expanded to six games because of a diluted test by allegedly drinking too much water prior to testing. The suspension also put him in stage three of the league’s substance-abuse program. One more failed test and Miller would face a mandatory one-year ban.
Miller would go on to release a statement weeks later. “I will not make the same mistakes about adhering to the policy in the future,” Miller asserted. “During my time off the field I will work tirelessly and focus exclusively on remaining in peak shape. I look forward to contributing immediately upon my return to the field and bringing a championship back to the people of Denver.” Those words would serve to be prophetic, but there were still more mountains for Miller to climb.
December 22nd, 2013
Heading into week 16, Denver traveled to Houston with an 11-3 record. Thanks to the arm of Peyton Manning and the return of Miller, Denver had their sights clearly set on bringing that Super Bowl back to Denver. With the Broncos up 3-0 with eight minutes remaining in the first quarter, Miller lined up in his usual pass rushing position for a third and ten. Shooting off the edge, Miller was chip blocked by Texan tight end Ryan Griffin in an attempt to slow down the dynamic rusher. Shedding the block, Miller immediately grabbed his right knee. Torn ACL, his season was done. Though they didn’t know it then, Denver would miss Miller and others as the Seahawks would go to embarrass the Broncos in Super Bowl 48.
February 7th, 2016
The road where you want to be is typically never easy and the road never straight. For Miller, the obstacles he faced only made him grow stronger and work harder. On a sunny evening in Santa Clara, Miller would finish the promise he made nearly three years ago. Miller would finish with two and a half sacks, six tackles, a pair of forced fumbles, two hurries, and a pass defended. In the process, he earned the award of Super Bowl 50 MVP to go along with bringing a championship back to the Mile High City.
Following the win, you could see a man that never quit on himself. “I’m so proud of my guys,” said Miller. “It’s been every last one of the guys in the locker room that has got me to this moment right here. They could have given up on me, but they kept pushing and kept being the type of guys that they are in the locker room and I’m very, very appreciative to them.”
Miller has continued to be an integral part of the Denver community. He has gone on to start Von’s Vision with a mission to provide low-income Denver children with the eye care and corrective eyewear they need to be their best in the classroom and in life.
September 6th, 2017
It’s not the fall of a man that determines his legacy; it’s what is done with the chances you’re given, no matter the obstacles faced.
Von Miller was voted captain Wednesday. Miller met the cameras following the announcement. “It’s a great honor you know it’s voted on by your teammates, the guys that you spend all of your time with each and every day so it’s an incredible feeling,” said Miller.
This Monday night when Miller takes his position during the coin toss, you’ll see a player with a “C” stitched into his jersey. A letter that serves as a testament to what mountains Miller has faced and how far he’s come along the way.