Von Miller's draft decision the right one

April, 1, 2011
4/01/11
9:00
AM ET
Former Texas A&M linebacker Von Miller told colleague Chris Mortensen that he plans to attend the NFL draft, despite being named in the players' antitrust lawsuit against the NFL.

"I'm honored to get an invitation and I plan on being there," Miller said. "It's always been a dream of mine, having my name called and being able to walk across the stage and shake the hand of the commissioner."

Some may claim it's hypocritical to shake the hand of the man you're currently suing, but Miller disagrees, and so do I. By doing so, Miller is eschewing a recommendation by the NFL Players Association to boycott the draft -- along with other draftees -- but Miller is also the only rookie named in the players' suit against the NFL, alongside stars like Drew Brees, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady.

I never liked the players' request for rookies to skip the draft, and it's good to see Miller not follow their recommendation. Big picture, I think the NFLPA overestimates the impact of players boycotting the draft and the amount it would accomplish, other than a symbolic protest that reminds people of a cause they were already well aware of, and would be reminded of during the draft.

Not going, even if you're included in the suit like Miller is, is far from crossing any picket line. He did say he wasn't pressured by anyone to boycott the draft, and it sounds like the reported request from the NFLPA is going mostly unheeded.

Small picture, this is about providing players barely past their teenage years with a moment they've dreamed about their entire lives. They've seen the tear-soaked hugs with mom and dad and the posed photos with the commissioner on stage. Players like Miller have worked hard to get to that moment. Robbing them of it, especially for something that would accomplish little, would be a shame and unfair to boot. They can't get that experience back.

"It doesn't change my stance with current NFL players," Miller said. "This is just separating the personal from the business. Personally, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to fulfill a dream that my mom and dad, myself and my family can enjoy a very emotional day. But I still plan on being there for the players in trying to get this lockout lifted."

Additionally, these players represent their universities, and fans of the team want to see the player they spent the last 3-4 years watching get his moment.

Good for Miller, and it'll be great to see him take the stage.

Additionally, if you want more on the former Aggies star, colleague Jeffri Chadiha profiled Miller's rise from freshman slacker to the top of the draft boards. It's great work. Check it out.

An excerpt:
Once Miller had glanced at a few pages of the file [coach Mike] Sherman had compiled, the coach took things one step further. Read it aloud, Sherman demanded. You need to hear how this sounds.

So Miller started talking. Missed study hall today. Late for class today. Good practice yesterday but didn't get it done today. After a few minutes of that, Sherman ended the exercise.

"Now tell me," the coach said while glaring at Miller. "Does that sound like a guy who wants to go to the NFL? Actually, does that even sound like a guy who wants to play football?"

[...]

Miller recently recalled that memory while sitting in the kitchen at his parents' home. He still shakes his head when thinking about those days. It's apparent that the immature kid who was cruising through life back then has long since vanished. In his place stands a one-man wrecking crew, a focused 22-year-old with studious glasses, an easy smile and the confidence that comes with knowing he's a likely top-10 pick in this year's NFL draft.

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