ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- When the Denver Broncos signed defensive end DeMarcus Ware, they hoped the no-nonsense, lead by example approach that put Ware in the league’s 100-sack club would rub off on linebacker Von Miller.
Well, after three months consider at least the start of that mission accomplished. At least, that’s according to one Von Miller, anyway.
“DeMarcus is just, it’s kind of hard to explain, he’s just one of those special guys that you just don’t have to, like … I don’t know, it’s just like DeMarcus already knows what I’m going to ask him even before I ask him," Miller said on Wednesday. “Sometimes he’s just like a psychic, he already knows what I’m going to ask him. We start talking about it and he just explains it so well."
“He’s a great teacher, it’s different than any relationship I’ve ever had with anybody else," Miller continued. “ … I’m not afraid to say it, I want to be like DeMarcus Ware."
After a tumultuous 2013 season for Miller that included a six-game suspension for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, an arrest for a missed court appearance and several traffic infractions as well as a torn ACL he suffered in December, that's music to the ears of the Broncos’ decision-makers. Certainly, the proof, at least the long-term proof, will be in how things go from this season forward for the immensely talented Miller, who had worried team officials about his future as last summer’s drama unfolded.
Miller has been reliable as he has worked through his injury rehab to this point. And the Broncos, who have since picked up the fifth-year option in Miller’s contract for the 2015 season, have also heard, and seen, what they want from Miller about his weight.
Miller said he returned from his suspension last season at just over 270 pounds “to play with more power.’’ But it was roughly 20 pounds more than Miller had weighed when he was at his best, including a 18.5-sack season in 2012.
Many personnel executives in the league, as well as those inside the Broncos’ complex, didn’t think Miller was the same player with the added weight. And Miller said Wednesday he would agree with that assessment.
“It was just experimentation, and it didn’t work as well as I thought it would," Miller said. “ … Me, being able to be lighter is better for me."
Miller weighed 246 pounds at the 2011 scouting combine and was 255 pounds during that Pro Bowl season in 2012. But even before his suspension last year, Miller had made the decision -- for reasons he described at the time as "it could help me" -- to get bigger.
He has said he was just over 260 pounds when the Broncos gathered for their offseason program a year ago and was over 270 pounds after his suspension. But Miller looks lighter as he works with the team’s strength and conditioning staff and he is expected to be at 250 or 255 pounds when he returns fully to the lineup. As far as his knee rehab, Miller said “I feel great," but he's trying to not overdo things to be ready to return full-speed for a Super Bowl contender.
“It’s not swelling up on me right, it’s feeling good," Miller said. “I’m just in a great spot in my life and I’m enjoying it."