The sporting world is replete with stories of athletes who showed great promise at the start but ended up disappointing when they made it to the pros. There are, however, inspirational tales of those who not only lived up to expectations but ended up surpassing them. If there is one person who is firmly entrenched in the latter category, it is Von Miller. Coming out of the collegiate system, Miller held sway as the best linebacker in the nation. He was, therefore, the toast of many teams and was drafted second overall in the 2011 NFL draft.
Since then, the Texas native has gone on to tally impressive stats and has proven that his school exploits were no fluke. He has posted the most sacks in the league since the year of his draft and rises heads and shoulders above his peers. He has firmly also entrenched himself as one of the most dominant defensive players of his generation. Off the field, Miller is renowned for his generous spirit and has dedicated himself to giving back to his community.
Von Miller Blazed His Way Through High School
The Broncos defender was born as Vonnie B’Vsean Miller Jr. on the 26th of March 1989 in Dallas, Texas, USA. He was born to middle-class American parents, Von Miller Sr. and Gloria Miller, who were also actively involved in sports during their high school and college days. The couple now run a power supply business in Dallas, Texas. Spending his early years in Dallas, Miller grew up along with his younger brother, Vince Miller, and developed a passion for sports when he was quite young.
With the support of his parents, he became involved in multiple sporting activities while attending DeSoto High School. In the game of football, Miller played the linebacker position for his school and notched 37 tackles as a junior. He did even better in his senior year, recording 76 tackles and 6 sacks. This exceptional performance fetched him several accolades including the District 8 – 5A Defensive Most Valuable Player Award. It also brought him offers from several colleges including Texas Tech University, University of Oklahoma, University of Florida, University of Mississippi, and Texas A&M.
A Look At His All-American College Career
Von Miller committed to play college football at Texas A&M and subsequently enrolled at the institution in 2007. As a freshman, he started out in the standup end position and recorded a decent 22 tackles and 2 sacks. He, however, disappointed his coaches with his lazy attitude towards training and academics and this fetched him some months suspension. On getting called back to the team in 2008, a repentant Miller was posted to the weakside linebacker position. He utilized his second chance to impress his coaches and tallied an impressive 44 tackles and 3.5 sacks.
For his junior and senior years, Von Miller was upgraded to a hybrid defensive end and outside linebacker position, and this greatly enhanced his performance. In his junior year alone, he recorded 47 tackles and 17 sacks, the highest number of sacks in the entire nation, while in his senior year, he progressed to 68 tackles and 10.5 sacks. This feat fetched him several individual accolades as a senior including All-American honors from ESPN.com, Scout.com, and Associated Press. He also received the Butkus Award, from the Downton Athletics Club of Orlando, as the best linebacker in the country.
Miller had initially planned to end his college career and go pro, at the end of his third year in the university. He was however persuaded to go the whole hog due to several reasons. First was the reality that his worth would be downgraded from 1st round pick to 2nd round pick if he were to leave college a year earlier. Another consideration was the fact that he would earn less money. The Texas native was also persuaded to stay back in school simply by the fact that he had fallen in love with his studies. Miller had taken an optional class in chicken farming which he found impressive. He ended up making poultry science his minor and consequently desired to finish his degree.
Exploring His Glorious Decade In The NFL
Von Miller took part in the 2011 NFL Draft and was selected by the Denver Broncos as the second overall pick. This made him the highest linebacker to be selected since 2000. It also made him the highest Texas A&M draft pick since the year 1992. The scouts placed a high premium on Miller and he did not disappoint as he made an immediate impact in the league. In his rookie season of 2011, the Texas native recorded a total of 64 tackles, 11.5 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles. This brought him the Associated Press Award for defensive rookie of the year. It also fetched him a selection for the Pro-Bowl which was quite an astonishing achievement as that was his very first season as a professional.
Given his brilliant debut season, Von Miller could have well gotten very pompous and arrogant. He, however, chose to remain humble and focused on giving his best on the field of play. In his second year in the NFL (2012), he improved his stats to 68 tackles, 18.5 sacks, and 6 forced fumbles. For the 2013 and 2014 seasons, the Texas native recorded a slight dip in form as he could only return a combined 93 tackles, 5.0 sacks, and 4 forced fumbles. 2015 marked the zenith of Von Miller’s NFL career so far. The outside linebacker assisted his team with 35 tackles, 11. 0 sacks and 4 forced fumbles as they went all the way to the Super Bowl finals. During the Super Bowl itself, Miller gave a majestic individual performance to keep the Carolina Panthers, and their star quarterback, Cam Newton, out of the scoring zone.
He also contributed 2.5 sacks and 2 forced fumbles as the Broncos defeated the Panthers 24-10 to emerge super bowl champions. Miller’s performance fetched him widespread praise as well as the super bowl Most Valuable Player Award. Since his Super Bowl heroics, Von Miller has continued to grow from strength to strength. In the 2016 season, he tallied 78 tackles, 13.5 sacks, and 3 forced fumbles. For the 2017 season, he had to content himself with a slightly lower 57 tackles, 10.0 sacks, and 2 forced fumbles. The 2018 season turned to be a historic one for the outside linebacker as he added 14.5 sacks to his haul. He thus reached 100 career sacks and made history as the fifth fastest NFL Player to record such a feat. Since then, Miller has continued his record-breaking exploits as he hunts for his second Super Bowl ring.
Redefining The Outside Linebacker Position
Von Miller plays the outside linebacker position which is traditionally used for outside containment as well as blitzing the quarterback. The Texas native has, however, redefined the position as he not only performs his traditional duties but has added on new responsibilities such as pass-rushing.
Miller has also become so disruptive in defense that offense teams are now forced to defend against him. This phenomenon has led to many teams in the AFC West and East division investing in players who can stop or at least slow him down. Miller’s antics have also stunned pundits with many of them comparing him to retired NFL great, Lawrence Taylor. Widely regarded as the greatest defensive player in NFL history, Taylor was a fierce pass-rusher who is credited with revolutionizing the defensive position.
Is Von Miller A Hall of Famer?
Von Miller is not a Hall of Famer yet but it is safe to assume that he would be inducted once his playing days are over. The Texas native has thus far had a distinguished career, littered with record-breaking stats and numerous individual accolades, and as such, can make a good argument for his induction. Some of Miller’s accolades include Super Bowl MVP, Super Bowl champion, selection to the Pro-Bowl (8x), selection as a first-team All-Pro (3x), selection as a second-team All-Pro (4x), the Butkus Award for best professional linebacker (2012), as well as inclusion into the NFL All-Decade Team of the 2020s.
Asides these accolades, Miller has also set several records at franchise level including most career sacks as well as most sacks in a single season, single playoff season, and single playoff game. Given this litany of achievements, there is no doubt that he would surely be made a Hall of Famer sometime in the future.
Here’s How Von Miller Helps Others In His Shoes
When he is not playing on the field, Von Miller will most surely be found wearing a cool pair of glasses. Some people think that this is just a fashion statement but this is not the case as the NFL star needs these glasses to see. Miller first experienced challenges with his sight as a child. He found that he could not see things quite well and this hampered his ability to follow lessons in school. His parents eventually took him to a doctor and they diagnosed that he had poor vision, 20/475 in one eye, and 20/500 in the other.
The diagnosis meant that Miller was practically as blind as a bat and thus had to wear glasses to see. He was outfitted with a pair and this made his life better. Miller continues wearing glasses to date and it has turned into his trademark.
He has also set up the Von’s Vision Foundation to help young people with vision challenges. The foundation provides eye exams, eyewear, and free vision screenings to local Denver students. It also extends its work to other vision issues such as glaucoma.
Has Von Miller’s Hard Work Paid Off?
Given Miller’s exploits in the NFL, one would naturally expect him to be rolling in money and he does not disappoint. The outside linebacker has been the beneficiary of several impressive contracts as well as endorsement deals. Miller’s rookie contract with the Denver Broncos was a four-year contract worth $21 million. This contract lasted up until May 2014 when the Broncos exercised the option to keep him for an extra year for a price tag of $9.7 million. Following his Super Bowl heroics of February 2016, the Broncos rewarded Miller with a six-year contract worth a whopping $114.1 million. The deal made him the highest-paid linebacker in NLF history with the highest guaranteed salary amount. He has thus far received $16.5 million (2017), $17 million (2019), and $17.5 million (2020) from it.
Miller has also been the beneficiary of several endorsement deals. The outside linebacker has deals with the likes of Ford, Best Buy, Muzik Headphones, Chef’s Cut Jerky, and Adidas. The exact worth of these deals is not known but going by Forbes estimates, they fetch the NFL star a 7-figure windfall each year.
Miller, meanwhile, spends his bucks on living the good life. The NFL star lives in a jaw-dropping mansion located in Denver. The house features a spectacular basement as well as a 300-gallon fish tank. It also has a gigantic closet that barely contains the player’s collection of over 800 shoes and 150 eyeglasses. Another favorite indulgence of Millers is his car collection. He has quite a few luxurious cars including a Batman-themed Camaro.
An Insight Into The Linebacker’s Love Life
While Miller has been doing what he knows how to do best in the field, he is equally active off the field. The linebacker has been in some romantic relationships but the only publicly-acknowledged one was his romance with a curvaceous, freckled-faced beauty named Meghan Denise. Meghan is an Instagram model, club dancer as well as internet sensation. She has garnered much popularity through her online presence and has amassed over one million followers on her Instagram account. She is also a dancer and has worked at Floyd Mayweather’s club named Girl Collection in Las Vegas. Asides modeling and dancing, Meghan is also a budding entrepreneur. She launched her online clothing brand, where she sells customized T-Shirts and Sweatshirts, in 2018.
Miller and Meghan commenced their relationship around 2018. They subsequently made their debut joint public appearance at the ESPY Awards which was held in Los Angeles on the 19th of July 2018. Following that public outing, Megan further showcased her love for her man by tattooing the words “Vonnie” on her chest. The tattoo was in a bold red color and she proudly displayed it on social media.
Miller and Meghan remained together from 2018 until February 2020. There are, however, speculations that their romance over. This is because the duo has unfollowed each other on social media. They have also scrubbed each other’s presence from their respective feeds. It is not known whether Meghan has gotten rid of her tattoo but this would certainly be the case if the relationship is over.