Thirty years ago today, Coca-Cola introduced New Coke and while that didn’t work out so good, what the Pittsburgh Steelers introduced to their fans 10 years ago did.
On April 23, 2005, the Steelers drafted tight end Heath Miller out of Virginia with the 30th overall pick in the first round of the 2005 NFL Draft and at age 32, he still remains one of league’s best at his position.
Miller, who started 39 straight games at tight end while at Virginia, caught 144 passes for 1,703 yards and 20 touchdowns during his college career. After the 2004 season, he won the Mackey Award as the nation’s best tight end and many believed he would be a top 15 draft pick. Luckily for the Steelers, that didn’t happen and it’s likely because of a sports hernia that he suffered that required surgery at the end of the 2004 season and thus prevented him from working out at the combine and his pro day.
Miller, who played quarterback in high school, went on to catch 39 passes for 459 yards and six touchdowns during his rookie season with the Steelers. That season ended with the Steelers winning their fifth Lombardi Trophy as they beat Seattle Seahawks 21-10 in Super Bowl XL.
For his career, Miller has 532 regular-season catches for 6,034 yards and 43 touchdowns as he heads into his 11th season. He’s only missed seven regular-season games during his career and two of those came at the start of the 2013 season as he was finishing up the rehab on his surgically repaired knee that he had injured during the 2012 regular-season finale.
Unlike New Coke, Heath Miller was a smashing success and he still hasn’t gone out of style.