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60 Catches In 2014 Will Put Steelers TE Heath Miller In Some Elite Company

On Monday, Alex Kozora and I discussed the outlook for Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Heath Miller for the upcoming season on the latest episode of The Terrible Podcast. Because of his age, Alex doesn’t believe that Miller, who will turn 32 in October, will catch more than 50 passes in 2014. I, on the other hand, believe that Miller should easily surpass that number as long as he stays healthy.

Our discussion, however, got me thinking about Miller’s age as it relates to history and the tight end position. I researched it and found out quickly that Miller will be in some pretty elite company should he indeed catch 60 or more passes in 2014.

As you can see in the table below, there have only been eight different tights ends that were 32 years of age or older that have caught 60 or more passes in a season dating back to 1966. Future Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez accomplished the feat six straight times while current Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe hit the 60 reception mark four straight years before calling it quits. Antonio Gates also caught more than 60 passes just last season at 33 years of age and many believe that he has a good chance at getting a bust in Canton down the road as well.

Miller, however, won’t be alone in trying to join the 32 and older, 60 plus catch tight end club in 2014 as Jason Witten hit the magic age number back in May. Barring an injury, he should easily eclipse the 60 catch number this upcoming season as he’s failed to hit that mark just once during his career and that was his rookie season.

I was able to track down the target numbers for all but one of the players listed in the table below so that you can see where Miller’s 71.4% career pass completion percentage ranks compared to the single seasons of the players listed. It’s an impressive number and Witten is right there with him (70.6%).

Miller has only cracked the 60 reception mark twice during his career and would have easily done it again last season had he not missed the first two games of the season. When you consider all of the variables listed in this post, however, you can see why Alex questions whether or not Miller will even catch more than 50 passes in 2014.

What say you? Will Miller catch at least 50 passes this season. What about 60 or more?

Tight Ends With 60 Or More Receptions At 32 Years Of Age Or Older (1966-2013)

Rk Player Year Age Tm G GS TGTS REC REC % YDS Y/R TD Y/G
1 Tony Gonzalez 2008 32 KAN 16 16 155 96 61.9% 1058 11.02 10 66.1
2 Tony Gonzalez 2012 36 ATL 16 16 124 93 75.0% 930 10 8 58.1
3 Tony Gonzalez 2013 37 ATL 16 16 121 83 68.6% 859 10.35 8 53.7
4 Tony Gonzalez 2009 33 ATL 16 16 135 83 61.5% 867 10.45 6 54.2
5 Tony Gonzalez 2011 35 ATL 16 16 116 80 69.0% 875 10.94 7 54.7
6 Antonio Gates 2013 33 SDG 16 15 113 77 68.1% 872 11.32 4 54.5
7 Shannon Sharpe 2001 33 BAL 16 15 114 73 64.0% 811 11.11 2 50.7
8 Tony Gonzalez 2010 34 ATL 16 16 109 70 64.2% 656 9.37 6 41
9 Mickey Shuler 1988 32 NYJ 15 15 N/A 70 N/A 805 11.5 5 53.7
10 Pete Metzelaars 1993 33 BUF 16 16 94 68 72.3% 609 8.96 4 38.1
11 Shannon Sharpe 2000 32 BAL 16 15 105 67 63.8% 810 12.09 5 50.6
12 Wesley Walls 1999 33 CAR 16 16 109 63 57.8% 822 13.05 12 51.4
13 Jay Novacek 1995 33 DAL 15 15 90 62 68.9% 705 11.37 5 47
14 Shannon Sharpe 2003 35 DEN 15 15 94 62 66.0% 770 12.42 8 51.3
15 Shannon Sharpe 2002 34 DEN 13 13 88 61 69.3% 686 11.25 3 52.8
16 Brent Jones 1995 32 SFO 16 16 101 60 59.4% 595 9.92 3 37.2
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