ENGLEWOOD, Colo. --** It's like déjà vu. Linebacker Von Miller looks like he did in 2012. He's speaking like he did in 2012. His level of anticipation is where it was at in 2012.
That season he was runner-up for the NFL Defensive Player of the Year -- finishing the season with 18.5 sacks, 27 quarterback knockdowns and 12 quarterback hurries.
The Broncos are hoping this déjà vu endures.
Miller, who tore his anterior cruciate ligament in December, is cleared for camp. His work is limited, for now. But he looks fit and, though he wouldn't specify how much he weighs, it's clear he's lighter than last season.
"A Ferrari wasn't built to carry luggage to and from the airport," Miller said. "You just want to have light, streamlined. That's just what I was trying to get to. Everything but the knee brace, I want to be streamlined, fast and quick.
"I figured out when I was 280, 270 pounds, they're still going to hold you regardless. It's not like you're going to keep offensive linemen from holding you. They're still going to hold you regardless if you're 270 or your 240, so I might as well be at a weight we're I'm comfortable."
Take a look at photos from the Broncos' first day of training camp.
Miller worked out every day during the break and, for two weeks during the summer, he worked out with fellow injured members of the defense Kevin Vickerson and Chris Harris Jr. He and Harris would compete and see who was faster and better at techniques in drills. He followed a strict diet and even though he was on his own without coaches pushing him or forcing him to "grind," he continued.
He said the struggles of 2013 made him a better player and person. Going through adversity made him realize how lucky he is to play in the NFL, with an appreciation for the everyday grind, such as the 7-on-7 periods of practice.
Now, he is confident in his knee, himself and his future. It's only the first day of camp, but Miller seems poised for a comeback.
"I feel like I got an A-plus on everything that I did today," Miller said. "It wasn't a lot, but I feel good for where I'm at today. I really don't know what tomorrow's going to bring, I'm just going to take it one day at a time and just keep taking bites out of it and I know when it's time to go out, that I'll be ready."
When asked if he has something to prove in 2014, Miller noted that he always has something to prove. He doesn't want to talk about his first three years in the league. He just wants to keep moving forward.
"No matter what it looks like, you just have to keep on working," Miller said. "We talked to Terrell Davis the other day and he was like, you really just can't count yourself out before you go and play. What he did, he wasn't feeling good about where he was out and he went out there and made a couple of plays. What it was looking like last year, I'm here now and I'm focusing on the future. I feel good about where I'm at. I feel good about my teammates and everything that we've been doing, that's what I'm going to focus on right now."
Miller's right knee is protected by a bulky white brace and his tumultuous 2013 season changed his perspective. Though he is a new Von Miller, in many ways, he appears to be like the old Miller. Which is good news for the Broncos.