View Full Version : TE Heath Miller named Steelers MVP, undergoes knee surgery
12-27-2012, 04:53 PM
TE Heath Miller named Steelers MVP, undergoes knee surgery
By Chris Adamski | CBSSports.com
Quite the Thursday for TE Heath Miller. He underwent knee surgery that will lead to months of grueling rehabilitation -- and he also was named the Steelers' most valuable player.
Miller, who leads Pittsburgh in receptions and is tied for the team lead in touchdowns, is the first tight end to win the award, which dates to 1969.
"No question... he definitely deserves it," says WR Antonio Brown, who was the Steelers' MVP last year. "He had a great year. He's unselfish, blocks hard, plays hard -- and not only when the ball is coming his way. He's a guy we respect tremendously around here."
Also Thursday, the Steelers named OT Mike Adams their rookie of the year, and NT Casey Hampton was "The Chief Award" winner, which goes to the member of the organization who best exemplifies the spirit of cooperation with the media.
The rookie of the year (officially called the "Joe Greene Great Performance Award") and Chief Award are voted on by members of the Pittsburgh Chapter of the Pro Football Writers Association. But the team MVP is voted on by the Steelers players.
"I think I put 83 down about five times on my ballot," QB Ben Roethlisberger said. "He's a guy that deserves it, and I'm glad he got it."
Miller has career highs in touchdown receptions (eight) and receiving yards (816) on a career-high 101 targets. His 71 receptions are seven more than both Brown and WR Mike Wallace have. If that team lead holds, Miller would be the first tight end to lead the Steelers in catches since Eric Green in 1993.
Miller was named to the AFC's Pro Bowl team for the second time. The first time was in 2009, when he had a career-high 76 catches.
Miller had a chance to match or surpass that this season, but he tore multiple ligaments in his right knee late in Sunday's loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, ending his season.
The consensus in the Steelers locker room is that Miller deserves to be a perennial Pro Bowler but that his lack of gaudy offensive numbers often keep him out. Miller's blocking skills are as highly coveted as his pass-catching.
"You've got tight ends out there like Antonio Gates and Dallas Clark -- when he was in Indy -- that were putting up receiver-like numbers," said Roethlisberger, who is one of Miller's closest friends on the team. "Heath never did that, but he did more than just catch balls and score touchdowns. He blocked and he did a lot of other things. That's why I think he's appreciated here in this locker room and by opponents in the AFC North. You talk to AFC North opponents, they'll give him his due credit. He just didn't put up those wide receiver numbers. I'm just glad that he's finally getting the recognition that he deserves around the league."
Congratulations, Heath! :tt:
12-27-2012, 04:56 PM
congratulations to Heath! Such a shame it has to come along with the injury.
12-27-2012, 05:01 PM
Miller named Steelers’ MVP
By Alan Robinson
Published: Thursday, December 27, 2012, 12:18 p.m.
Heath Miller, who enjoyed the best season of his career even as the Steelers faded badly down the stretch, has been voted by his teammates as the Steelers‘ most valuable player.
Miller is the first tight end chosen since the award‘s inception in 1969.
Miller will miss the final game of the season Sunday against Cleveland after injuring three knee ligaments during the playoff-elimination loss against Cincinnati. He had surgery on Thursday.
“It‘s an honor and humbling, but the overriding factor is the disappointment of the season and not doing what we set out to do,” Miller said before having surgery.
The Steelers were 6-3 and in a strong position to make the playoffs after winning four in a row, but they have since lost five of six games. If they don‘t beat the Browns (5-10) on Sunday at Heinz Field, the Steelers (7-8) will finish with their first losing record since they went 6-10 in 2003.
Miller has a team-high 71 catches for 816 yards and eight touchdowns.
“I have been saying for years that he is my favorite player, but we just never coached it up to where he got the opportunity to come out and show what he has been able to do,” safety Ryan Clark said. “If you look, game in and game out this year, when he got opportunities to deliver, he delivered.”
Miller‘s receiving numbers are excellent, yet Clark said he might be an even better blocker.
“It goes unnoticed with all the great pass-catching tight ends how many can do what Heath does in the blocking game,” Clark said. “How many do you leave singled on defensive ends or blocking those guys in the run game? I have been really impressed with him.”
12-27-2012, 05:03 PM
Well deserved honor. Quiet, unassuming, humble, and old school flair. Wished we had a few more like him.
12-27-2012, 05:10 PM
Good for Heath!!! Definitely earned and deserved!
12-27-2012, 06:17 PM
Congrats to Heath. He has worked hard all year and deserves to be named team MVP; however, he did not deserve the knee injury he suffered in the game against the Bungles.
12-28-2012, 05:49 PM
Congrats Heath! Get Well Soon!
12-28-2012, 06:09 PM
well deserved MVP for this year. sucks about his knee :(
12-29-2012, 09:18 PM
Heath Miller & The Art of Humble Maintenance
Miller rises above (Aller/Getty Images)
By Jim Wexell
Posted Dec 28, 2012
Troy Polamalu and Brett Keisel helped carry SCI.net publisher Jim Wexell through his ode to Heath Miller, the Steelers' MVP and devote practitioner of the dying art of humility.
When Troy Polamalu won the team’s Most Valuable Player award two years ago, he gave one heckuva begrudging acceptance speech.
“It’s kind of uncomfortable winning anything like this,” he said at the time. “If I was ever a coach, I probably wouldn’t ever have an award like this, just because it is such a team sport.”
Polamalu looked even more uncomfortable than he said he was.
But at least he showed up.
Heath Miller didn’t even do that.
Oh, sure, there was that whole surgery thing, but if we go back to Miller’s senior year at Honaker High, in the remote hill country of southwestern Virginia, from a story his mother relayed to me, Heath was headed toward something similar, class valedictorian, when he learned he would have to make a speech. So he tanked his finals and finished third in his class.
The story elicited a chuckle from Polamalu.
“You know, in Orthodoxy,” Troy said of his religion, “that’s like a story from a saint. You hear of a saint who has the most beautiful voice but won’t sing because he doesn’t want to be praised for it.”
But, I asked Polamalu, doesn’t God want His children to display their talents? Wouldn’t that please God?
“But how can you know God without having a humble disposition or humility?” Polamalu said. “That’s what I would feel God wants, that sort of relationship. And how can you know that without humility? And if you sacrifice something that’s your greatest gift, as God sacrificed, that’s the ultimate, isn’t it?”
Probably so. And it just happens that the Steelers lost their greatest gift for the most important series of the season, and the regular-season finale, and the coming spring, and possibly the entirety of the next training camp when Miller blew out his knee late in Sunday’s game.
He was voted MVP by his saddened teammates a few days later, and I had hoped to ask Heath then about the importance of humility in sports as some sort of positive way to end a negative season. But he wasn’t around.
Heath would probably just say that he’s way too boring to be interviewed anyway. And he would mean it. So Polamalu attempted to take on the topic.
“Oh, man,” Troy said as his mind went to work. “Well, I don’t know if it’s a syndrome or a cancer, but there’s kind of an uprising of a more egotistical, ego-centric athlete in sports, the selfish athlete in sports who’s looking out for himself and is money-centered, really avaricious.
“But, really, Heath would be better to talk to about this. Heath to me is someone who’s innately humble. He doesn’t struggle to be humble.”
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Maybe as a reflex, I did what I was told. I went over to Heath’s locker knowing he wouldn’t be home. But his next-door neighbor was.
“Terrible,” was what Brett Keisel had to say about Miller’s injury.
I asked Keisel why he rushed onto the field last Sunday to help Heath off.
“Well, I know there aren’t a lot of guys as tall as him,” said a man who obviously knows something about humility.
But, because you’re tall?
C’mon, Keis. Let it out.
“Heath is a very dear friend to me. He really is,” Keisel said. “Not that when other people go down I’m not great friends with them, but I just wanted him to know that I was supporting him and if he needed help getting off the field that I was one guy who was about the same height as him that could help him.”
Keisel and Miller have dressed side by side in the locker room ever since Miller was drafted in 2005. Like most everyone else who’s ever dealt with Miller, Keisel’s developed a great deal of respect for him.
“He’s one of the greats,” Keisel said the day before the team voted for its MVP. “He’s getting my MVP vote. He’s one of those guys that if you had a whole locker room full of Heath Millers you would never lose.
“He’s just one of the greatest guys ever, one of the most competitive guys ever, one of those pros who’s always doing his job. That’s why we all love and respect him because of the way he carries himself, the way he comes to work. I told him he’s one of the few guys that I really look up to.”
He’s loved and respected, but the Steelers’ offense just might need someone who’s feared as well. The unit appears to be in need of more than a leader-by-example. It appears to need a leader by force, or at least by vocal force.
Does Heath ever get that charged up?
“He might just do a fist pump or something, but that’s all you’re going to get from him,” Keisel said. “Still, that gets us fired up because to us that’s like a dance. You see emotion from him from time to time, but he’s a very humble guy.”
But, would it be too much to ask Heath to become just a bit more rah-rah?
“I’m not going to tell Heath to change who he is,” Keisel said. “I don’t think anyone in here would ask him to do that. He’s the type of player he is because that’s how he was raised to play the game and that’s how he approaches the game.
“I don’t know who is going to be those other vocal leaders on that side of the ball, but it’s not going to be Heath. He’s going to lead by example and by showing everyone how hard he’s ready to go.”
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Why can’t Heath Miller just start knowing all, seeing all, and most importantly start telling all? Why is such deep-rooted humility so important in sports anyway?
“Well, spiritually, it’s obviously very important,” said Polamalu. “But it’s important in sports that everybody has a role, and sometimes you humbly have to accept it as a follower. Sometimes you have to humbly accept it as a leader.
“A lot of guys, I think, struggle with it, but I always think ‘Well, what is it that drives you to be better?’ What drives you to be better is you understand that people are better than you, and that’s a point of humility. That’s what makes you work harder. That’s what makes you study harder. But when you let arrogance seep into your game and you say ‘Well, I’m the best,’ then you don’t struggle at getting better at all, which in turn doesn’t help anybody on this team.”
Polamalu learned this at a young age. Before his senior year in high school, on a piece of paper listing his immense athletic and academic goals, he circled the phrase “Stay Humble” to set it apart as the overriding theme.
How did he come to understand such a concept at that age?
“Maybe it’s innate within a lot of different cultures,” he said. “It’s innate within our culture to be humble all the time, and probably more so with the youngest child in both my family and my adopted family. But, I don’t know. It’s not only humility. It’s also meekness and just being reserved within yourself.”
Isn’t that a difficult balancing act? Don’t we need great confidence to achieve, to thrive, in any endeavor?
“It depends on how you can view it,” Polamalu said. “You can view it and say, ‘I’ve got confidence in myself. I’m better than them.’ Or, ‘I respect him so much because he’s better than me and I’m going to give him everything I’ve got.’”
And then Polamalu came back around to Heath, who’s becoming as well known for his humility – or lack of wanting to be well known – than even Polamalu himself.
“Heath is humble in its purest form,” Polamalu said. “He’s just a naturally humble guy who from the outside doesn’t look like he struggles with it.”
And Polamalu does?
“Oh, yeah,” he said. “If people could read my thoughts they would say that I’m probably the most arrogant guy.
“Self-deprecation, they say, is a great spiritual exercise when people start puffing you up. That’s why I don’t read the paper or anything like that. I don’t like to read things that are good or bad about myself, because they both affect me.”
Heath Miller probably would agree, but then again he probably wouldn’t read a story about himself in the first place.
“Too boring,” he’d say.
12-29-2012, 10:58 PM
Troy hit the nail on the head when he stated, “I don’t know if it’s a syndrome or a cancer, but there’s kind of an uprising of a more egotistical, ego-centric athlete in sports, the selfish athlete in sports who’s looking out for himself and is money-centered, really avaricious."
Earl Heath Miller, Jr., is the epitome of humbleness and unselfishness.
Thanks for posting the article, Hawaii. :thumbsup:
12-30-2012, 12:59 PM
We miss you so much today, Heath. Hope you are recovering nicely.
12-30-2012, 01:39 PM
:tt:yes, Congratulations Heath, for your very-much-deserved MVP, but more importantly, please get HEALTHY, we need you !.
Afterall, you were our (only,), AND entire "Offense", for this entire past season.
Oh Yaaaaaa baby !
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