PITTSBURGH -- The chants usually ring out from Pittsburgh Steelers fans the minute he touches the ball: Heeeeeeath, they scream, as tight end Heath Miller pulls in a pass and rumbles downfield.
Steelers fans even took it a step further last season during some of tight end David Paulson's seven catches by cheering for Miller. Since Miller and backup Matt Spaeth are expected to miss at least the first few weeks of the regular season, Paulson likely will get more opportunities.
That means the Steelers Nation should get more chances to cheer for him. But what can they say when Paulson catches a pass?
"Oh, I don't know,'' Paulson said. "It doesn't matter to me. I remember last year, the fans would cheer for Heath, sometimes, when I had a catch. It was kind of a joke around the locker room.''
Miller didn't have an answer, either, even after it was suggested that his leadership skills could come to the forefront in this situation.
"You'd have to ask Paulson that,'' Miller said. "I don't know. Maybe we'll come up with something. We'll see what happens, but hopefully he'll be making a few plays soon enough, and we'll see what happens.''
Both chuckled, Paulson quite loudly, in fact, when it was suggested that maybe a quack would be in order. That is in reference to his days with the Oregon Ducks. So, fans could let out a few quacks.
"Heath's a great player, so anytime you could get mistaken for him I think it's a pretty good thing,'' Paulson said, without signing off on any new cheer. "But there's no extra pressure on me to make up for Heath and Matt.
"I guess I'm getting more reps because of it, but that's about it. You have to take advantage of those reps and improve in any way that you can. But I'm not trying to put too much pressure on myself. I know that I'm not Heath, and I'm not Spaeth, so I'll just do the best that I can.''
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger had his own take.
"Heath's special,'' Roethlisberger said. "He's one of the best tight ends in the game. Like we say to guys after other guys leave here, we never ask guys to be anybody but the best they can be.
"So, we're not asking Paulson or DJ to be Heath. Just be the best they can be and do a great job filling in until Heath's ready to come back.''
And until then, there needs to be a new cheer when Paulson catches a pass.
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