ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- **Von Miller came within one vote of being named Defensive Player of the Year last year despite missing the entire offseason because of an unsigned franchise tender.
He traveled the world. He showed off his moves on "Dancing with the Stars." And after he got up to speed in the preseason, he was back at his usual level, earning Pro Bowl and All-Pro nods and finishing with a double-digit sack total for the fifth time in six seasons.
"I feel like I've always been able to handle those types of situations. I feel like that's what I was built for. It really didn't bother me," he said Tuesday. "I felt like that's why I was able to come out and have the type of season that I had [last] year."
So just imagine what he could do if he's an everyday presence at team-organized offseason work.
"If I didn't have [those off-field commitments last year], who knows where I would have been?" he said.
And he envisions a player better than the one that already has a resume that places him on a Hall of Fame trajectory.
"I feel like this Von coming up is going to be my best Von that I put forward," he said.
"I have a full offseason. Full OTAs. I'm going to be here every single day training. It's not all the noise on the outside from the contract and this and that, and doing all this stuff -- not that it wasn't a big deal for me.
"Now it's just all football. I'm here. I'm settled in, and it's time to go play."
Last year, Miller's offseason got off to a late start because of the Broncos' run to Super Bowl 50. Weeks later, he began training for Dancing with the Stars, from which he was eliminated on May 2. Even though he didn't go through the offseason regimen with his teammates, his schedule was crammed.
The Broncos are back at UCHealth Training Center to prepare for the 2017 season, beginning their offseason workout program. (photos by Ben Swanson)
This year, the Broncos' offseason began earlier than expected, and Miller took advantage. He focused on rest and rejuvenation. He already sees the difference.
"I'm definitely a whole lot better. [I'm] getting the rest and being able to sleep," Miller said. "I'm definitely in a better place physically than where I was last year."
He's also a lighthouse of stability surrounded by a tempest of change. With DeMarcus Ware retired, Shane Ray becomes his edge-rushing partner. Joe Woods has taken over as the defensive coordinator. Two-thirds of the starting defensive line could be new with the free-agent arrivals of Domata Peko and Zach Kerr.
Ray's work in place of Ware the last two years ensures that he and Miller will be up to speed. The secondary behind Miller remains intact. Woods will carry over the bulk of Wade Phillips' philosophies.
But it's Peko and Kerr — and their combined 659 pounds of bulk — who could make the biggest difference in helping Miller reach new heights.
"Have you seen those guys? Those guys are huge," Miller said. "Peko, he's athletic, and he was working out today, and I was like, 'Yeah, he's going to be great for us.'
"Just by looking at those guys, you can already tell they're going to be [able to] correct some of those weaknesses we had last year."
If Peko, Kerr and any additions through the draft make the Broncos stout against the run, Miller will have more opportunities to attack the quarterback. More pass-rushing opportunities means more chances for Miller to do what he does best -- and to do that better than ever before.
"It's going to be my best year," he said. "That's what I'm going for."