Miller has come a unique path to the NFL. A quarterback at Nebraska-Omaha, he was immediately converted to a tight end after being selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the sixth round of the 2009 draft. His only experience at his new post at college came from the Cactus Bowl. , a Division II All-Star Game.
Miller played 66 games with 33 starts in three seasons with the Jaguars, catching 45 passes for 470 yards and four touchdowns. But he missed the next three years mainly due to injuries.
Miller revitalized his career with the Bears in 2015, catching 34 passes for 439 yards and five touchdowns. He followed in 2016 with 47 receptions for 486 yards and four touchdowns. But in the middle of the 2017 season, he suffered a devastating injury in a game in New Orleans that nearly cost him his leg and ended his NFL career.
Seeking to fill a significant void without football in his life, Miller turned to music.
âI started writing years ago,â he said, âand then after I got hurt it kind of became a therapeutic thing for me, so I started to write more and more and I started to fall in love with it. “
Miller wrote about 30 songs. He recorded “How Ya Like Us Now” in Nashville at Dark River Studios, owned by his friend Colt Capperrune. Miller has since performed in public twice, May 1 and 7 at the Good Life Sports Bar and Grill near his home in Omaha.
Prior to that, Miller played his music for friend and former Bears teammate Jay Cutler, who stopped by Miller’s in Nebraska on a road trip across the country.
âIt was actually one of the first times I played music for someone outside of my family,â Miller said. “Jay said to me, ‘What do you mean, you write and do all this? I want to hear it.’
âI was actually a little nervous because you want people to like it. We sat and jammed all night. Song, I’m sending it to him for his review because I know one thing: he’ll be honest with me.”
Miller is pictured on the cover of “How Ya Like Us Now” running on the beach with his wife, Kristen, the mother of their children aged 11, 9 and 3. The former Bears close member is grateful for the support he received from Kristen. , both during his long recovery from his terrible leg injury and now that he is releasing his first single.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Miller’s new venture is that he learned to play the guitar by watching YouTube videos and reading books. His journey began when he received his first guitar as a Christmas present from a friend while in college.
âIt’s like golf,â Miller said. âYou can golf like shit all day, but if you hit a good shot you’ll come back. This is how the guitar was for me. I still have so much to learn, but now at least I can put a few songs together and play open chords and barre chords and compose music. “
Miller is clearly comfortable sharing his music, but that hasn’t always been the case.
âIt was more of something I loved to do,â he said. âIt was a hobby. It was a way for me to get away from everything, football, all that, to sit down and play guitar. It was just a hobby and I really enjoyed doing it – and it became something more. “
Miller’s face lights up when he learns that Bears fans often ask him how he’s doing after suffering a horrific leg injury.
âSome days are better than others,â he said. âThe nerve damage is going to last a lifetime and just general pain. There are days when I can run with the kids – well, run cautiously with the kids – and there are other days when I have to facilitate.
“That’s how it goes. I consider myself lucky to be where I am rather than not having a leg or whatever it might have been. I choose to [view] from that angle and keep going. “