Von Miller not slowing down, expects to play out contract – syracuse.com

Orchard Park, N.Y. — Brandon Beane and Sean McDermott know first-hand how much Von Miller can wreck a game.
Back in Super Bowl 50 in 2016, Miller racked up 2.5 sacks and forced 2 fumbles to lift his Denver Broncos over the Carolina Panthers. Miller was named MVP, and McDermott and Beane watched their Carolina squad finish as the runner up.
But that was six years ago.
At 33 years old, what version of Miller are the Buffalo Bills getting? How much longer can he be the force he’s been for two separate teams?
Miller was asked exactly that on Wednesday just a day after he reported for voluntary workouts with his new team. The thought never occurred to him that he’d be anything other than what he’s been in the NFL to this point – in 2022 and beyond – despite some of the noise from fans and media about the length of his new deal.
“I’m a real sicko when you get to know me. My mindset is different,” Miller said. “I’m 33 but I honestly don’t feel 33. … This is a six-year deal so I’m looking forward to playing the whole thing. 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.”
The last game Miller played was a masterpiece. He recorded two sacks in the Super Bowl in just his 12th game as a member of the Los Angeles Rams. The Broncos traded him to the NFC during the regular season and the move helped put L.A. over the top. Cooper Kupp was named the game’s MVP, but Miller could have easily earned the honor.
The Bills made it clear at the start of the offseason that they wanted to improve on their defensive line. Beane said on Wednesday the reason they haven’t addressed the cornerback position this offseason is because they believe you win up front. The Bills defensive line is stacked, and Miller makes it arguably one of the best in the NFL.
In 11 playoff games during his already Hall of Fame-worthy career, Miller has posted 10.5 sacks, 12 tackles for a loss, and 18 quarterback hits.
Miller said he’s seen veterans around the league start to lose their passion for the game. He said once you start feeling old, you’re done. He’s heard guys start complaining about practices when it gets cold out, or heck, even just having to practice at all.
Miller was all smiles as the team began workouts inside the facility this week.
“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,” he said. “I can run with anybody and I’m healthy and I take care of my body.”
There have been some examples of great pass rushers excelling late into their careers. Bruce Smith had four 10-plus sack seasons after his 33rd birthday, including a monster 14-sack season at 34 in 1997. Reggie White had three 10-plus sack seasons after he turned 33, including 16 sacks at 37 in his final season with the Green Bay Packers.
Miller has posed with his new no. 40 Bills jersey since signing with the team, but a good question came up this week about what his role will look like in Buffalo. He’s never had a season where he’s played less than 75% of his team’s snaps. In Buffalo, McDermott relies on a heavy defensive line rotation. The most a Bills defensive lineman has played was Kyle Williams’ 68% back in 2017. No defensive end even played 60% of the snaps last season for the Bills.
When the game begin, expect Miller to buck the trend.
“I like to be out on the football field. You can’t make plays if you’re not on the football field. If there’s 80 snaps in a game and you’re only playing 40, you can make more plays by playing 60,” he said. “I gotta be in the game to affect the ball carrier and to do what I do and affect the game. I’m all for rotation and all that stuff, but when it’s crunch time I have to be in the game.”
Miller doesn’t think the coaches will fight him too much on forcing his way onto the field.
“I’ve always thought that I’m a coach’s dream,” Miller said. “No matter if we play in 4-3, 3-4, no matter what, I know football and I know defenses. Whatever they want me to do, I’m going to be able to get it done.”
Miller is planning on sharing everything he knows with the collection of young talent on the Bills defensive line – specifically young defensive ends Greg Rousseau, Boogie Basham, and A.J. Epenesa.
“I’m an open book and I’m going to force some of my chapters on them,” he said. “There’s things I’ve learned over my career that have helped me battle with 6-6, 300-pound guys. And these guys are already huge.
“The longer you play, you gotta pay that information forward and that’s just my way of giving back to a game that has given so much to me. You gotta pay the knowledge forward. Demarcus Lawrence did it for me – Elvis Dumervil, Shaun Phillps. Wherever I go I’m already in that role before I walk into the locker room.”
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