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Embracing His Opportunity

Posted Apr 28, 2011

When the Broncos selected Von Miller as the No. 2 overall pick of the 2011 NFL Draft, the team granted the linebacker a lifelong dream as he completed the first step of his professional football career.


ENGLEWOOD, Colo.
-- Von Miller did not get the call. The Denver Broncos phoned in their pick after the Carolina Panthers selected Cam Newton at No. 1 overall, but Miller's phone did not ring.

His father's cell buzzed first, and Miller shed tears of joy as he answered and learned he would become the Broncos' first choice of the 2011 NFL Draft.

"I saw a 303 (area code) number, and I knew immediately who it was," Miller said. "I just had flashbacks to all the hard work that I've been putting in ever since little league football, all the people who told me no, and every time that everybody said I couldn't do it."

The Broncos did not doubt him, and Miller plans to repay them by playing anywhere in the front seven. After starting at both 4-3 defensive end and 3-4 outside linebacker at Texas A&M, Miller said he's comfortable either putting his hand on the ground or dropping back to cover tight ends and running backs.

The speedy linebacker does not sweat the details that differentiate the two positions.

"I think I'm going to adjust pretty well," Miller said. "At the end of the day, when the ball is snapped, it's all about shedding blocks and making tackles. When I get there, I'm going to be extremely excited, extremely anxious to go play football."

The thought of playing alongside a healthy Elvis Dumervil added to Miller's excitement. Dumervil and Miller each posted 17 sacks in 2009, a total that led the NFL and college football, respectively. Miller credited the 5-foot-11 Dumervil with opening the door for shorter pass rushers like himself.

"I'm just glad to be a teammate," Miller said.

While he earned his share of individual accolades as an Aggie, Miller proved how much he values a team mentality when he captained the defense at Texas A&M and agreed to become the only draft prospect in the group of men representing the NFL players in court during the Collective Bargaining Agreement dispute.

But when Miller came face to face with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell at Radio City Music Hall, he embraced him with a vice-tight hug.

"I've never had anything against Roger Goodell. I just want to make sure football continues to get played," Miller said. "The whole reason why I got into this whole thing was not because of notoriety or for publicity. I got into this thing to represent the guys who came before me and broke their backs."

Now Miller can stand with his peers and claim the Denver Broncos as his team. He said he can't wait to get to work on the field and earn his place among the players.

"I'm just anxious to prove myself," Miller said. "I can show you better than I can tell you."