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Old 07-31-2005, 11:23 PM   #1
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Default Steelers Notebook: Miller gets off to good start

Steelers Notebook: Miller gets off to good start
Monday, August 01, 2005
By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Steelers already have one marquee player not reporting to training camp. They are glad they don't have another.

Tight end Heath Miller, a No. 1 pick, was one of the first players to report yesterday to St. Vincent College in Latrobe, carrying a new contract to go with his sociology degree he received recently from the University of Virginia.

"It's been somewhat unusual to have our first-round pick here on day one," Steelers president Art Rooney II said. "It's a good start."

Miller, the 30th overall pick in the April draft, signed a five-year, $6.89 million contract last week with the Steelers, ensuring his arrival at camp and breaking with recent team history. Miller is only the second No. 1 pick in the past 10 years to sign a contract before the start of training camp.

The last one to do so was Troy Edwards in 1999, who signed a week before the start of training camp.

"I'm glad to have the business part behind me so I can concentrate on football from now on," Miller said. "It's a big relief for me to have the contract behind me and be here on time from day one. I'm excited."

The Steelers are, too. Miller was the top-rated tight end in the draft and winner of the 2004 John Mackey Award, presented annually to the top collegiate tight end. At Virginia, he had 144 catches, 1,703 yards and 20 touchdowns -- all school and Atlantic Coast Conference records for a tight end.

The Steelers are hoping his presence will help expand the options for quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who will begin training camp without four-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Hines Ward, who wants a contract extension.

"They have an excellent team here, with or without me," Miller said. "My goal is to get more comfortable with the offense."

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