But now that the Broncos find themselves in a canyon-sized rut — 13-27 since the start of 2017 — Miller finds himself several exits down the road from frustrated after a 2-6 start. Still, in an era when star players increasingly force their way off of bad teams, Miller seems to be in this for the long haul.
“I’m good, I’m good,” Miller said. “I’ve said you can’t be stinking thinking, all you can do stay positive and keep working, grinding. I’m doing that.”
Miller is a lot of things for the Broncos. He is the face of the franchise and a former Super Bowl MVP. He is also the first, and still the best, draft pick of John Elway’s tenure as the Broncos’ top football decision-maker. Miller has reached seven Pro Bowls and been named first-team All-Pro three times. He and cornerback Chris Harris Jr. are now the longest-tenured Broncos.
“It’s crazy,” Miller said in the wake of the Emmanuel Sanders trade. “Been here nine years and seen a lot of stuff and seen a lot of different situations. That’s just part of the business. … We’ve been going through a tough patch here. We just want to get it right. We want people that want to get it right with us. We want people that want to be Broncos.”
Miller, 30, says he wants to be a Bronco, but his future with team has become a topic of conversation in Denver. Miller’s contract, the largest on the team, has a potential out after this season. Come spring, the Broncos must decide whether to pick up an option that engages the final two years of six-year deal Miller signed in 2016 and kicks in guarantees worth $6 million.
While Sanders made it clear he wanted to move on, Miller and Harris have been public in saying they like the current coaching staff. Miller has added, “We have a really good roster of young players.” Regarding his contract, Miller says he lives “in the now.”
But Miller has also made no secret that his job is to get sacks. It’s what fuels him, and his early-season struggles have frustrated him. He has four sacks at the halfway point of the season; he hasn’t finished with fewer than 10 sacks in a season since 2013, when he missed six games because of a suspension then tore his ACL in December.
Coach Vic Fangio has said multiple times that Miller is playing “pretty damn good,” which in Fangio-speak is fairly close to the highest of compliments. Miller says every one of the next eight games matters to him, because he saw players like Champ Bailey and Brian Dawkins go through tough times and still help a then-rookie find his way.
“I embrace my role on this team, I want the young guys to be talking about me how I talk about Champ and Brian Dawkins and Peyton Manning and Tim Tebow. I want that same type of legacy and I’m living my legacy right now,” Miller said.
“Von will always want to be with the Broncos,” Bailey said recently. “He’s their guy, right from the start; they should want him, too. But you know the league and the business and all of those things, but it’s hard for me to believe you wouldn’t want Von to help you get out of the current situation. That’s exactly the kind of player you need to do that.”
Miller’s name was tossed around in the social media universe before the trade deadline, but multiple personnel executives with multiple teams said they were unaware of any discussions around the league about Miller going anywhere.
The Broncos don’t seem to want to part with Miller, and the feeling seems mutual.
“I love my coaches, I love being a Bronco and I still feel like our season isn’t done,” Miller said. “I’m not done trying to be the best Von I can be this year and ride with my guys to get this right.”