In some ways maybe it was appropriate that when Heath Miller was announced as the Steelers 2012 Most Valuable Player he wasn’t around to talk about it. Miller likely would not have felt at all comfortable talking about himself. That just isn’t his style. He always takes the quiet approach and never sings his own praises.
“I was teasing him a while back about being the team MVP and he was like, ‘yeah, right,’” said defensive end Brett Keisel. “He doesn’t think that way. That is just the humble Heath Miller. That’s what we all love about him, his humility and the way he carries himself.
“We all appreciate Heath for the way he goes about his business. He is the silent assassin, doesn’t say much but is always in the right place, doing the right things. He is one of the hardest working guys I have ever met. He definitely deserves this honor.”
Miller was selected by his teammates for the honor one day after he was voted to the Pro Bowl for the first time. But he wasn’t there to enjoy it having undergone surgery to repair the ACL in his right knee, suffered against the Bengals last week.
“My heart hurt for him. It was hard to see him get hurt,” said quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. “He means a lot, everything. He is such a great football player, person, and teammate. It’s amazing how one guy who is so good, is so humble. It’s about time he got these honors. But it kills me now that he is hurt.”
Miller finished the 2012 season with 71 receptions, just five shy of tying his single-season high. He also had a career high 816 receiving yards and eight touchdown receptions before being placed on injured reserve this week.
“To have him on the football field is such a security blanket, a comfort zone,” said Roethlisberger. “Even if he is covered you can still get him the ball. He knows the game. To have someone like that who is so selfless is amazing.”
Miller has 400 career receptions, only the third player in Steelers history to reach that mark. His 39 career receiving touchdowns rank him first among tight ends in team history, passing Elbie Nickel (37), and he is tied for fifth in team history in receiving touchdowns among all players.
But what he means to the team goes far beyond the numbers.
“He is probably one of the best teammates you could have,” said guard Ramon Foster. “He is always here early working. He is the epitome of a team player. He doesn’t need to say much and he doesn’t. His body of work he puts on the practice field and in the game says it all. On the field he made a lot of plays to put us in position to win games. He is a unique player and I am glad to be on the team with him.”
Miller is not just a favorite in the locker room, but also a fan favorite. Every time he touches the ball crowds at home and on the road erupt in a cheer of, ‘Heeeeeeath,’ and many of his teammates did the same when filling out their MVP ballots.
“For my ballot, I didn’t just put Heath, I put Heeeeeath,” said Keisel. “We love it when we hear that at games. We love Heath. He deserves to be MVP.”