Miller awaits offseason filled with fun, rewards


Arnie Stapleton - AP Pro Football Writer



Arnie Stapleton

AP Pro Football Writer

SAN FRANCISCO — On top of his game and now the world, Von Miller’s docket is quickly filling up.

A parade. Lots of parties. A princely payday.

“I was just talking to Coach Kubiak, I was asking if you could make the plane do backflips on the way home,” Miller said Monday after accepting the Super Bowl MVP trophy from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

“It’s definitely going to be a magical week for us. I am looking forward to spending time with my teammates going on tour.”

It should be a magical offseason for Miller, who led Denver’s dominating defense to a 24-10 clobbering of Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers.

Thanks to Miller, GM John Elway earned a third Lombardi Trophy for team owner Pat Bowlen to go with the two he won as his quarterback in the 1990s. Bowlen is battling Alzheimer’s and didn’t make the trip to Super Bowl 50.

“We’ll take that trophy over to Pat this week and let him cherish it,” Elway said.

Denver’s throwing a parade for the champs on Tuesday, and Miller should be leading the way.

Then the players will take their final physicals and head into an offseason that includes a trip to the White House where receiver Demaryius Thomas gets to personally thank the president for commuting his mother’s prison sentence.

Everyone’s expecting a send-off for Peyton Manning, and Miller’s Super Bowl co-stars Danny Trevathan and Malik Jackson are sure to draw high interest in free agency.

Miller is also set to become an unrestricted free agent, but Elway will use the franchise tag on him if he has to, guaranteeing Miller close to $15 million next season.

In both sides’ sights, however, are the $100 million-plus megadeals of J.J. Watt and Justin Houston that will serve as benchmarks for negotiations on a long-term contract for Miller.

Miller, who overcame a drug suspension and torn knee ligament in 2013, was the very first draft pick by Elway, who calls him the best player on the planet.

“He wins the football game for us,” Elway said in the jubilant locker room Sunday night.

There’s no way, he’ll get away from Denver, either.

“No. I don’t think so,” Elway said. “You never know, but we don’t want him to (leave). We want Von to stay in Denver and we’re going to do everything we can to work it out.”

Miller’s mind isn’t on money just yet. It’s the nonfinancial fruits of success that he’s soaking all in.

“The Super Bowl MVP is special, but the Super Bowl ring is something that I will keep with me for the rest of my life. I’ll be able to be with my brothers for eternity,” Miller said. “I’ll be able to be with those guys for 100 years from now and that’s truly beautiful.”

As for contract negotiations, Miller said he’s sure “it’s going to be a peaceful thing. I am not really worried about it.”

Some of Miller’s teammates were eager to proclaim Denver’s defense the best ever, but Miller wouldn’t go there.

“I’m uncomfortable with comparisons. The game is the way it is because of the players that have come before us,” Miller said. “All these great defenses, they really put their necks on the line for the game. I’m uncomfortable with comparisons, but the type of defense that we played this year was special.”

It was Miller’s infectious enthusiasm that loosened the locker room and raised the bar on the football field, too.

“He loves to play,” coach Gary Kubiak said. “And as a football coach, there are a lot of talented players out there, but when you find the guys that just really love to play (that’s special). He’s become a mentor to a lot of young players on our football team. They look up to him. His future is so bright. But I’m just really proud of him as a man.”

Arnie Stapleton

AP Pro Football Writer

comments powered by Disqus