When Heath Miller tore all three ligaments in week 16 against the Bengals, the hearts in all of Steeler Nation came to a complete stop. Not only did the Steelers lose that game, in turn knocking them out of the playoffs, they also lost their 2012 team MVP to a terrible knee injury.
After catching 8 touchdown passes last season, Heath Miller was elected to his first pro bowl. As a big fan of Heath Miller, I knew the potential Miller had to catch a boatload of touchdowns, but never did I envision Heath Miller to be the Steelers offense last season.
When Todd Haley had his introductory press conference, he only mentioned one name specifically that he was thrilled to work with, and that name was Heath Miller. The moment I heard Haley talk about Miller, I knew we were going to see a big season out of Heath. Miller fit perfectly the supposed “dink and dunk” offense that Todd Haley runs. The short yardage game is perfect for Miller since he is so big and strong. 71 catches later, Heath Miller became a vital part of the offense, something that Bruce Arians failed to do. I think the funniest thing is, the Steelers offense was its best in 2011 when it ran a short passing offense against the Titans and Patriots. But for some reason, Arians just did not want to use Miller.
Many people will tell you “Steelers are in trouble without Wallace.” I can honestly tell you I am more scared of life without being able to yell “HEATH” every game. Not only was Heath Miller a favorite target for Roethlisberger, he was also a fantastic in line blocker and personal protector. When you loose an entire package like Heath Miller, it takes away a dimension of your offense.
Kevin Colbert has been quoted numerous times saying that there is no time able for Millers return. For a while, I felt like Heath Miller was destined for the PUP list. One small unnoticed thing changed my mind. No, I don’t the Steelers are lying that they don’t have a good time frame, but I believe they figure to have Miller back soon enough. I thought at first Miller’s chances of playing a lot this year were very small, but when the Steelers didn’t draft any tight ends, I knew the front office had to have some faith that Miller would not miss more than a couple of games at the most.
After Miller’s surgery in January on his knee, Miller has been said to be walking jut fine without crutches or any assistance. At the point of the reports that came out, it was also said he was working on lifting lighter weights. While Miller is not there quite yet physically, he is a lot closer than some would be at this point.
Now say in theory, Heath MIller is the starting tight end come week 1 against the Titans. As great as that would be, we couldn’t expect him to just continue on right away where he left off. Even the great Adrian Peterson was eased into his starting role for the first couple games. At the age of 31, Heath Miller also isn’t as able to return to form as say a 25-year-old. Who knows if Miller returns to form ever again. Most of us assume that after completely messing up his knee, that he will just hop back on the field and be Heath Miller again. There is a lot of guessing involved with this, but what I will say is don’t count Heath Miller out just yet. Ben Roethlisberger was quoted saying “if anyone could do it, it would be Heath.”
All we can do is plan for the worst and hope for the best, but we all know that to make a run at 7, we need Heath Miller on the field. A season after Adrian Peterson came back better than ever, myself, along with the rest of Steeler Nation hope that Heath can do the same.
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