COMING OUT OF MY BLOGGING HOLE TO BE SAD NOW. HEATH MILLER IS RETIRING.
This was a surprise for everyone, I think. There was a rumor that the Steelers might cut him to save some cap space, but without a clear heir apparent and with his play minimally declining, I thought that was a dumb rumor. But now it doesn’t matter! The Steelers are without their 11-year tight end.
Let’s talk about tight ends for a hot second. Tight ends in today’s NFL are garbage. Every big name tight end is just a receiver who makes less money. When the Steelers complete a pass, some lazy broadcaster says, “There aren’t your dad’s Steelers!”
Well Heath Miller is your dad’s tight end. I am aware of the innuendo. Fight me.
A tight end is supposed to be a flexible player who can stay on the line and block or run short routes as an extra passing option. Sound familiar? That’s Heath Miller. He never went for the glory, because he never needed to. His contributions helped his team win. He was just as eager to block for a running back, be it Willie Parker, Gary Russell, or Le’Veon Bell, as he was to run a quick slant route to get four yards and a quarter of an inch on 3rd & 4. Heck, when Ben Roethlisberger throws an interception, it’s probably Miller making the tackle on the return.
Miller is, in my mind, the epitome of how a tight end should play football. It’s a position that is catering more and more to annoying showboats like Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham, but I will go to my grave believing Heath Miller is a better tight end than any of them.
Now the Steelers are faced with a glaring hole on the starting offense. Jesse James was fine last year, but no better than fine. Matt Spaeth is… still around. But Miller was an important cog, both as a pass catcher and a run blocker, and that’s two jobs that one person will be hard pressed to take up.
Man. Heath was my favorite player. I just hope that by retiring at 33 he gets to keep his health going forward.