In January of 2015, Von Miller capped a triumphant season in returning from a torn ACL with his third career Pro Bowl appearance in just four years in the NFL.
There, in Phoenix, he met a first-time Pro Bowler who was emerging on the national level as a rookie: Odell Beckham Jr. The young star had become an almost overnight sensation after a dazzling one-handed catch against the Cowboys on "Sunday Night Football," but he wasn't a one-hit wonder; he recorded 91 receptions for 1,305 yards and 12 touchdowns in just 12 games, earning Offensive Rookie of the Year honors.
Miller, too, had been a sensational rookie. In 2011, he won Defensive Rookie of the Year with a then-franchise-record 11.5 sacks and three forced fumbles.
At this Pro Bowl, they became fast friends, and since then, their bond has become even stronger.
This past offseason, Miller and Beckham trained together in two-week stints in Colorado Springs, each recovering from an injury that ended their 2020 seasons far too soon. Through the struggles that come with those situations, they could rely on one another for support and guidance.
"It's like I'm talking with my brother," Miller told DenverBroncos.com's Aric DiLalla this summer. "He sees everything from the same point of view that I'm seeing stuff on. His advice is always needed and it's always well applied. … There'd be days where I'd just be going through it and I'd go out there and work with OBJ and it'll be all good. He's my dog, and it's been a true blessing to work out with him."
Through the training, Miller and Beckham pushed themselves to return to the game better than they were before. What Miller saw of Beckham seems to imply that such heights are within the realm of possibility — and assuming that Miller got just as much out of the workouts as Beckham did, Miller too is poised for great things in 2021.
"OBJ is probably one of the most athletic human beings that I've ever been around," Miller said. "One of the strongest human beings I've ever been around. He's a receiver, and we're lifting the same weight. We're doing explosive drills, which would be on my end. We're doing explosive drills and running, and I'm running with him. So it kind of had this correlation. He's way faster than me, but he helps motivate me in that area. He's way more explosive, but he helps motivate me in that area. And I'm stronger than him, but we both push each other and both get these amazing workouts together. It's pretty dope."
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Broncos safety Kareem Jackson is ready to show the league what Denver's defensive backs unit is capable of. The former first-round pick put on quite a show during Denver's fourth day of training camp, leading the Broncos defense with two turnovers.
Though he was proud of his performance this weekend, Jackson and the rest of the secondary are much more focused on translating Saturday's defensive success to game days this season.
"Every day we should come out here, that should be the main thing for us is to force turnovers, to get the ball," Jackson said. "So, if we can come out here and consistently do it, I have no doubt that it will translate to game days."
Jackson, who is entering the 12th season of his NFL tenure (and his third year with the Broncos), turned 33 this offseason. But the veteran corner isn't showing any signs of slowing down just yet.
"Jackson has shown the past four days he has a lot left in the tank," George Stoia of The Gazette wrote. "And they're going to need him to continue to play that way if the Broncos want to have one of the best secondaries in the league, like many have predicted them to be."
Jackson is part of a Denver defensive backfield that also houses safety Justin Simmons, as well as cornerbacks Kyle Fuller and Ronald Darby, and first-round pick CB Pat Surtain II. With the help of a stacked secondary, Jackson is confident that Denver has the tools on both sides of the ball for a postseason push in 2021.
"I think we've got a lot of talent on this team," Jackson said, "and we've got a lot of pieces in the right places to play some good ball and to get in the playoffs, and to make some noise this year."