Steelers: Miller Leaves Lasting Legacy


Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Heath Miller announced his retirement from the NFL Friday afternoon.

HHHEEEAAATTTHHH.  For a decade, this deafening sound erupted from Steeler fans whenever Heath Miller hauled in a pass.  But now fans will have to target their cheers towards another Steelers pass catcher.

In a surprising move, Miller announced he will retire from the NFL after 11 seasons with the Steelers.  Drafted out of Virginia with the 30th selection in the 2005 draft, he ends his career with more receptions (592), yards (6,569) and touchdowns (45) than any other tight end in Steelers history.

Miller finishes as one of only 12 tight ends to eclipse the 6,000 yard mark in NFL history.  His 592 receptions rank sixth all-time among tight ends while his 6,569 receiving yards rank ninth.

A member of two Super Bowl teams (40 and 43), Miller played a key role on both teams while also helping the Steelers to Super Bowl 45.   He earned 2 trips to the Pro Bowl in 2009 and 2012 and was named Steelers MVP in 2012 after posting career highs in receptions and yards.

Despite being a fan favorite among Steeler fans, Heath flew under the radar when it came to the national spotlight.  He played in what is considered to be the golden era for tight ends.  Guys like Antonio Gates, Tony Gonzalez, Jason Witten and Rob Gronkowski were adored by the national media.  Still, Miller came up big for the Steelers year in and year out. 

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Outside of Hines Ward and Antonio Brown, Heath was one of Ben Roethlisberger’s favorite targets especially in the red zone.  You could always count on Steeler fans saying ‘throw to Heath’ under their breath when Ben was looking towards the end zone.

This past season,  I was fortunate enough to be in the Steelers locker room after one of their games.   I had been tasked with finding players for the KDKA-TV post-game show.  Walking into the locker room, one player standing in the back the room caught my eye immediately.  That man was Heath Miller.

To be truly impressed with the size of an NFL player, you have to see them ip close and with their pads off.  Miller was no exception.  He is definitely all 6’5 256 lbs. and easily towered over me (I’m 6’2).  But Heath is a gentle giant and one of the nicest guys on the Steelers.  Seeing that no other media guys were at his locker, I went up to him, told him who I was and asked if he wouldn’t mind doing an interview.

Granted this was just after the Steelers heartbreaking loss to the Cincinnati Bengals and Miller could have easily declined the interview.  But as a true professional, he agreed to my request and was being interviewed by Bob Pompeani and Chris Hoke minutes later.

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Heath Miller left a lasting legacy with the Steelers.  Hopefully his replacement, whether that’s Jesse James or someone else, fills those shoes.