If you ever make a trip to Heinz Field, even if it were just for a tour of the field, go in early when the place is almost empty — and just close your eyes.
If you listen hard enough, you will hear something deep within those gold seats...
The chant for former tight end, and fan favorite, Heath Miller will never die, even though his playing days are now a thing of the past. When Miller made the trek back to Pittsburgh for a roast to his teammate Brett Keisel, Miller spoke about what it was like to be back in the Steel City.
“It feels like I am coming back home,” said Miller.
You might be wondering how Miller is doing, and how retirement has been treating him.
“It’s a hard adjustment,” Miller told Teresa Varley of the Steelers official website. “I don’t think you can ever really prepare yourself for it. It’s something that has been our passion since we were little kids, and to just leave and move on is difficult. But it’s something we will all have to do sooner or later.”
Miller embodied what fans love about the Steelers. That hard-nosed, hard-working, no nonsense attitude which made fans stand up and cheer every time he caught a 5-yard reception over the middle of the field. If you are like me, you wonder if former players watch the current team that much. For Miller, not that much.
“I don’t watch too much,” said Miller. “I think I have gotten better. As I move away from the game a little more it will be easier to watch.”
Not being able to watch has to be horrible for a player like Miller and he spoke about what he misses the most. He misses the competition. He misses game day. He misses the adrenaline rush. But there is something he misses even more.
“I miss the team the most, being around your brothers every day and your friends,” said Miller. “I think the camaraderie of the team I miss.
“You miss the relationships. You try to keep in touch with as many people as you can. Lives are busy and we don’t get to see each other every day like we used to. We were spoiled in that regard.”
Those are all the things he misses, but is there anything about NFL life he doesn’t miss?
“Training camp,” laughed Miller. “We can start there and end there.”
Miller was a quiet player. Not one to be in front of the cameras, so a lot of questions were left unanswered about Miller’s time in the black-and-gold. Since retiring, he was asked what he thinks about the Heinz Field crowd chanting his name whenever Jesse James makes a reception.
“It’s humbling,” said Miller. “It makes you realize and appreciate how passionate the fans were and how much you were recognized and well-liked by the fans. It means a lot. It’s not taken lightly by any means.
“Steelers fans meant a lot to me. To represent them and to be able to bring joy not only to our lives, but the whole city, it meant a lot. Guys on the team when I played, and I am sure guys on the team now, don’t take that lightly.
“It was always fun for me to play for the Rooney family, to represent the City of Pittsburgh, the tradition of the Steelers. That was something that was awesome. Not a lot teams have that opportunity throughout the league. I feel fortunate that I was given that by Mr. (Dan) Rooney, Coach (Bill) Cowher, Kevin (Colbert) and the guys who drafted me to be here. I didn’t take that lightly.”
For all of us here at BTSC, let us say we never took one game Miller put on the No. 83 jersey for granted. It was a pleasure watching your career develop and we wish you nothing but the best moving forward!