DENVER --** Ten minutes passed. Twenty minutes. Thirty. Forty.
Von Miller sat at his locker, head down, in full uniform.
The second-year linebacker didn't move or speak for nearly 45 minutes after Saturday's heartbreaking, double-overtime loss to the Baltimore Ravens that ended Denver's season.
"I guess I just wasn't ready to let it go yet," Miller said when he finally got up to address the media. "I'm still not ready to let it go."
From a 2-3 start to a 35-point second-half outburst in San Diego that started an 11-game win streak, the ups and downs of the 2012 campaign were still fresh in Miller's mind.
"It's just all season -- it took a lot to get to this point," he said, quietly. "To walk away from it on that note, I can't even put it into words. It's devastating."
The suddenness of Saturday's loss -- a walk-off field goal that sent the Broncos home from the postseason -- was what stuck with Miller the most.
"I've had my losses before," he said. "I've won some, too. But I think this loss definitely is different from the rest of them."
If it was a blowout, it might have been different. But the fact that "one or two plays" could have made a difference in the game caused the franchise's single-season sack leader to question his own impact on the game.
The linebacker said he mistimed his jump toward Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco when the signal caller connected with wide receiver Jacoby Jones for a game-tying, 70-yard touchdown near the end of regulation. He believes he could've gotten his hand on Flacco's arm before the throw, or at least tipped the ball.
But rather than dwell on the play, Miller said he'll use it -- and the game as a whole -- as motivation for next season.
"I think it will burn a little bit throughout this offseason, throughout training camp next year and when we get started next year," Miller said. "All adversity does is build character. I'm going to take this head-on and attack this offseason."
The hardest part, the linebacker said, is the fact that the team as it was configured for the 2012 season will never be the exact same.
He acknowledged that it's the nature of the NFL, and no matter who lines up for the Broncos on Sunday next year, the team will play with passion. But it doesn't make it any easier to leave this group behind.
"I enjoyed coming to the locker room every day, just spending time with those guys," Miller said. "It'll be a long time before we play again. I was just thinking about that and not wanting to let it go."
But Miller said a test of the team's mettle will be how it moves forward from the loss. And he has no doubt the club will be ready to bounce back next season -- as far away as that seems at the moment.
The expectations and goals that drove the Broncos all season will still be there when the club reconvenes for the 2013 campaign.
"I had dreams of confetti," Miller said. "I'm still going to continue to have those dreams. Now I have a better understanding of what it takes to get there."
"We'll remember this," he added, "and be better next year."