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'I've been trying to be like DeMarcus my whole entire career': Miller finds pride in matching former teammate with All-Decade selection

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — When the Broncos drafted Von Miller with the second-overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, he headed to Denver with one intention.

"I just wanted to win games," Miller said. "They drafted me to rush the passer, so that's what I wanted to do first and foremost was to make plays for my team."

He did that, as the Broncos made the playoffs in 2011 for the first time in six years. Miller, despite not having an offseason program because of the lockout, set the Broncos' rookie sack record as he dragged the quarterback down 11.5 times. En route to Defensive Rookie of the Year honors, Miller made good on his goals.

Miller, though, would soon accomplish feats he couldn't have imagined as he left Texas A&M. Among them? Being named to the 2010s All-Decade Team, which was announced Monday.

Miller was one of just eight unanimous selections.

"I never dreamed about making the All-Decade Team," Miller said. "You think about Super Bowls and Walter Payton Man of the Year, but this is just such an honor that's so hard to get that you never really even think about. It's incredible to be here. It's incredible to achieve this honor."

He joins an elite group of players to make an All-Decade Team, as John Elway, Shannon Sharpe and Champ Bailey all earned spots on previous teams. Miller, though, seemed particularly pleased to match the feat of his former teammate DeMarcus Ware.

"The All-Decade Team is just such a huge honor," Miller said. "DeMarcus Ware got the All-Decade Team, and I remember how much it meant to him and how important it was to him. Fast-forward to now, and it's a couple years later and I'm doing the same things. It's incredible.

"Everybody knows I've been trying to be like DeMarcus my whole entire career. To follow in his footsteps and get honored like this is incredible."

Ware, who made the 2000s All-Decade team and joined the Broncos in 2014. He helped mentor Miller, and was a key factor in helping Miller rebound from a disappointing 2013 season.

During that 2013 season — in which Miller faced a six-game suspension and then tore his ACL ahead of Super Bowl XLVIII — the future Super Bowl MVP wondered about his future in Denver.

"One-hundred percent," Miller said. "I definitely thought about it. You know how some people say take it one day at a time? I took it six hours at a time. I just went to work, did what I had to do [and then] went home, did what I had to do. [I] just made it small and achievable. Every day that passes you can gain trust or you can lose it. [I] just tried to put together a lot of good years and just try to learn from that. … If I would've made the same mistake later in my career, it would've been different. It was [early] in my career and I was able to be around a lot of great players, and they helped me develop. And here we are today. It's a huge blessing. I'm very appreciative and grateful to be here and still be a Bronco."

Still in Denver, indeed — with a Super Bowl MVP trophy, handful of first-team All-Pros and an All-Decade Team to boot.

Miller clearly still has aspirations for the future, as he explained he hopes to lead the league in sacks and win Defensive Player of the Year honors for the first time.

For a former rookie just looking to make plays, though, Miller's first decade in the league wasn't too shabby.

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