© 2024 ALLCITY Network Inc.
All rights reserved.
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Von Miller is taking on the Broncos for the first time on Monday Night Football.
“I know it’s cliché, but it’s really just another game for me,” Miller told Buffalo media on Thursday.
The Super Bowl 50 MVP played 10 seasons with the Broncos after the team drafted him with the second overall pick in the 2011 draft. Miller was an eight-time Pro Bowler, three-time All-Pro and the 2011 Defensive Rookie of the Year while playing for the Broncos, but his time in Denver came to an abrupt ending when the team traded him during the 2021 season for second- and third-round draft picks.
“I want to be a GM (general manager) one day in the NFL, and those are some of the things you just understand about the game,” Miller said of his departure. “Definitely not any bad blood.”
The Broncos traded Miller to the Rams, where he contributed to a Super Bowl run. He had four sacks and a forced fumble in four postseason games, including two sacks in the Super Bowl win over the Bengals.
After earning his second ring, Miller signed a six-year $120 million contract with the Buffalo Bills. He’ll take on the Broncos for the first time on Monday.
“I left on good terms,” Miller repeated. “I left to go win a Super Bowl. I had a great relationship with everybody in that facility. Didn’t have any bad blood with anybody in there. For me, it was like I didn’t even want to leave. I cried real tears when I left.”
Miller, now 34, has started slowly in Buffalo. He had eight sacks in 11 games in 2022, but his season was cut short by a torn ACL. He returned to the field in October but hasn’t recorded a sack in the five games he’s appeared in. He only has one tackle despite being on the field for over 100 plays.
Miller wants to return to his Super Bowl MVP self, but he has no extra motivation against the Broncos.
“It’s not like a revenge game or anything like that. Every time I go out there, I try to show whoever’s watching the best version of myself,” Miller said. I could see it if we left on bad terms. I could see it if they treated me bad there or anything like that. I reflect back on my time there, and I don’t think there’s any other star player in the league that was treated the way I was treated… They love me there: my coaches, the players there, the front-office ladies, the fans there. Everybody loves me there. I don’t have that type of motivation or influence to go out there and play well and show these guys this or that. I just want to go out there and play well for me.”
Miller’s former teammates are excited to take the field against him.
Left tackle Garett Bolles was the Broncos’ first-round pick in 2017. He played with Miller for five seasons. His parents became close with Miller’s parents. His wife did, too. Bolles’ kids call Miller “Uncle Von.”
Bolles and Miller battled in practice, and Bolles credits Miller for teaching him what defensive ends will be looking for when they line up against him. Bolles says he calls Miller “big brother,” and Miller calls Bolles “little brother.”
“He’s probably my biggest mentor when it comes to learning the left tackle position,” Bolles said on Thursday. “Von is a legend, and his legacy will live on forever here.”
Miller is still in frequent contact with many Broncos. He attended Courtland Sutton’s wedding in the offseason. He said he’s heard so much about Broncos head coach Sean Payton from his former teammates that he feels like he’s played for him.
Miller’s deep ties with the Broncos are why he still often says “we” when referring to the team. Bolles isn’t surprised by that.
“If I left here, I’d probably say ‘we,’ too,” Bolles said.
Miller shouted out one behind-the-scenes Bronco during his press conference on Thursday: Broncos equipment manager Chris “Flip” Valenti.
The Broncos haven’t allowed a player to wear No. 58 since Miller left town. This is common when a star player leaves the team, as it allows the organization to decide whether or not to retire the number. Only three numbers—No. 7 for John Elway, No. 44 for Floyd Little, and No. 18 for Frank Tripucka and Peyton Manning—have been retired by the Broncos.
“I know the restriction of the number is coming from one man, and that’s Flip,” Miller said.
While the Broncos show Miller some love by keeping his jersey number out of circulation, Miller is offering even more love in return.
“I haven’t played there in two years,” Miller said. “I didn’t get to play for the owner that’s there now and the head coach that’s there now. A lot has changed since I’ve been there. One thing that will never change is my love for Broncos Country. They were with me through everything.”