On Tuesday, April 16th, 2019, Chicago Bears tight end, Zach Miller, officially announced his retirement from the NFL. Back in 2017, Miller suffered a horrific leg injury while making a touchdown catch against the New Orleans Saints in the Mercedes Benz Superdome. The touchdown was unfortunately overturned as officials determined that Miller did not remain in possession of the ball for obvious reasons.
The injury was so bad that he almost lost his leg. Suffering a dislocated left leg on the play, he was unable to leave the field on his own . They carted him off the field, and immediately transported him to a hospital in New Orleans, Louisiana. Miller had to undergo emergency vascular surgery on October 29th, 2017 (same night as the game he was injured in). Surgeons repaired a heavily damaged artery in his left leg, which is the only reason he is able to walk again.
After 9 total surgeries and sitting out the 2018-2019 season, the player rehabilitated his leg at the Chicago Bears team facility, and he has worked relentlessly to get his leg back to full strength. Due to his love of the game of football, he never gave up hope that he would return to playing tight end for the the team once again. A little over a week ago, he released statements to the media regarding his NFL future by saying,
“There will be a time, probably soon, that we’ll make that decision,” Miller said on April 9. “I haven’t made that decision yet. It’s something we’re exhausting every option we can. I know it’s getting close. I can’t hold it hostage forever. And I don’t plan to, but there are some things I need to try and do physically and see if it’s possible. What we’ve been doing rehab-wise and communication-wise with the franchise is we’re going to give it a little bit of time to kind of see where we go, and when that point comes, I know I’ll have given every single thing I had to do that. And I’ll be comfortable any which way that it happens.”
Miller Makes Tough Decision:
It was not an easy decision for the Bears player to retire from playing professional football. It seems as if his left leg is permanently damaged to the point in which he will not be able to make football moves on the field anymore. He did everything he could to try and make a comeback to playing in the NFL, but it is just not physically possible.
Miller had this to say:
“To the city of Chicago, my beloved bears fans and NFL fans everywhere… The time has come to move on from playing the game of football. It has been an incredible journey for myself and my entire family and we can’t thank you enough for your continued support. I would love more than anything to step on Soldier Field one last time but I physically cannot give the game and our fans what they deserve.”
“It’s difficult to find words to express my love and gratitude to every single person that has cheered my name, picked me up and stood strong with me throughout my time in this league. I am forever grateful. To the McCaskey Family and the entire Bears organization, THANK YOU for changing my life! To my Family, teammates and coaches, I value nothing more than the friendships and love I have gained from this game! I love you all! And to everyone else chasing a dream… never stop, never settle!”
NFL Playing Career:
Miller was drafted by and played three seasons with the Jacksonville Jaguars (2009, 2010, 2011). During that time, he played in 33 games for the Jags. He had 45 receptions totaling 440 receiving yards, and he found his way into the end zone for 4 touchdowns.
He was eventually picked up by Chicago and played with Da Bears for three seasons as well (2015, 2016, 2017). Throughout his time in Chicago, he participated in 33 games getting his hands on 101 receptions with the Bears and picking up 1,161 total yards through the air. Miller scored 11 touchdowns during his tenure with the team.
Future Off the Field
According to ESPN:
As of last week, Miller said the Bears had not discussed any permanent non-football playing role for him moving forward, but given his popularity among teammates and fans, it would not be a surprise if the organization retained him in some capacity.
“I had a first-class seat throughout all of last year, and in a weird way it was one of my favorite seasons. Not being able to be on the football field and do the things I love was difficult, but to see that whole thing take place, Coach Matt Nagy coming in and the regime change and everything put together, it was special because now you see the game through a different viewpoint.
“I’d love to do anything and everything I could to stay around this game I love.”
The Relationship between Miller and the Chicago Bears…
…is absolutely amazing. Everyone involved with the organization from his fellow players to coaches to executives and to the great fans has nothing but love for Miller. There’s a good chance he will be offered a job with the Bears franchise…