After joining the Los Angeles Rams in a midseason trade and capturing his second Super Bowl, linebacker Von Miller signed a six-year, $120 million contract with the Buffalo Bills this offseason.
Big multi-year contracts don’t always prove to be written in stone. Stars earn raises or restructure, and teams commonly release players when the amount of dead cap (or lack thereof) lines up with a drop in player performance.
But the way Miller sees it, he’s planning on being in Buffalo for the long haul.
“This is a six-year deal, so I’m looking forward to playing the whole thing,” Miller said, via Mark Gaughan of The Buffalo News. “I’m trying to play the whole thing out. Tom Brady’s done it, Bruce Smith has done it. All the guys that I look up to when it comes to longevity in careers. So I just take it one day at a time, and I’m just gonna take whatever God gives me. My intention is to play the whole thing out. I’m a real sicko when you get to know me. My mindset is different.”
Miller turned 33 in March. If he was to play out his entire contract with the Bills, he would be 38 going on 39 at the end of his final year, 2027.
Miller is an eight-time Pro Bowler, three-time All-Pro and the most recent defender to win a Super Bowl MVP. It makes sense for him to compare himself to the greats in his mission for longevity. While Tom Brady’s continued domination at 44 years of age is impossible to replicate and difficult to compare due to the positions the two play, Miller seeking late-stage dominance à la Smith, the all-time sack leader (200), is attainable.
Miller is the league’s leading sack artist among active players with 115.5. Although Miller missed all of 2020 with a dislocated peroneal tendon and has not tallied double-digit sacks since the 2018 season, he has routinely proven himself capable of still taking over when the lights are brightest. Last year, Miller struck pass-rushing gold with four sacks during Los Angeles’ postseason run, including two in Super Bowl LVI.
Whether or not he can take those snapshots of dominance and extend them throughout another six seasons remains to be seen, but the first step to beating back father time is maintaining health and commitment. Miller feels he is covered there.
“I’m 33 but I honestly don’t feel 33,” Miller said. “I think mentally, once you start feeling old, it’s just done. I’ve been in the league a long time and when guys start complaining about, of course you’re gonna have injuries and stuff, but when guys start complaining about, man it’s cold out here. Or we got practice again today. Or just little things that I just try to stay out of. I try to keep my mind positive.
“Of course, I’m getting older. But I don’t feel 33 at all. The main thing is I don’t look 33 at all. When I’m running out here with the guys, I make it a point to show to my teammates and earn their trust that hey, I’m 33 years old but I can run with you. I can run with anybody and I’m healthy and I take care of my body.”
Miller still feeling young now allows him to envision that long-term future where he finishes out his full contract. As for the short term with his new team? Miller just wants to be on the field whenever it matters most.
“I’m all for rotation and all that stuff, but when it’s crunch time, I have to be in the game,” Miller said. “I’m sure that coaches and everybody wouldn’t fight me on that. When it’s crunch time, I’m gonna be out there in the game.”
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