Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and tight end Heath Miller have built quite a relationship over the years and their relationship on the field doesn’t appear as though it will be ending anytime soon as the quarterback recently revealed a conversation he’s had with Miller that likely means the tight end will play out his current contract.
“I’ll tell you how much he means to me. I made him promise that he’ll let me know ahead of time when he’s done,” Roethlisberger said, according to Ron Cook of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I need a whole year to know it’s his last year. I don’t want him to come to me the last game and say, ‘This is it for me.’ I want to enjoy my last ride with him. I made him promise me.”
According to Roethlisberger, Miller’s hasn’t said anything to him yet two games into the 2015 season, so one could easily speculate that this year won’t be Miller’s final year in Pittsburgh as long as the franchise doesn’t have alternate plans.
Miller is currently just 18 receptions away from joining Hines Ward (1,000) as the second player in team history with 600 receptions. As long as he remains healthy, he should hit that milestone in the next three or four weeks.
However, as far as milestones go, Miller won’t want any fanfare whenever that happens. In the opener against the New England Patriots, Miller’s sixth catch in the game moved into second place on the Steelers all-time receptions list behind Ward and while Roethlisberger immediately called that to the attention of his tight end, it was just another catch to Miller.
“No one knew that he moved into second place,” Roethlisberger said, according to Cook. “I knew about it. I said something to him. He said, ‘Shhhh!’ That’s just who he is. That’s unbelievable. He passed Hall of Famers [John Stallworth and Lynn Swann]. I told him, ‘Heath, let’s try for No. 1,’ because that means I keep him here for 10 more years. We had a good joke about that.”
Miller’s 10 catches for 99 yards and a touchdown so far this season have him on pace for another fine year. While he’s unlikely to match his 2009 or 2012 numbers, he should easily be able to register a fifth consecutive 50-catch season barring injury. However, Miller’s not concerned about how many catches, yards or touchdowns he has this season as he has just one thing on his mind every week.
“Winning is No. 1, by far,” Miller said. “There’s no better feeling.”
Miller will turn 33 in October and he’s currently signed through the 2016 season.