It’s been nearly a week since Heath Miller announced his retirement and though the initial shock has settled down, it’s still difficult to process not seeing 83 on the field next season.
Two more Pittsburgh Steelers’ coaches spoke on Miller’s career to Steelers.com yesterday, Todd Haley and tight ends coach James Daniel.
“You never had to worry about Heath. That is very comforting for coaches and the players around him. He was a very calming force for everyone around him,” Haley told Teresa Varley, reflecting on Miller’s time in Pittsburgh.
Miller was there for each all of Haley’s time but the tight end and his Daniel are attached to the hip. Daniel was hired by the Steelers in 2004, one year before Miller was drafted, and served as his position coach for his entire career. No one may miss him more than Daniel.
“It will be different. It will be difficult at times. I am happy for him because he is an outstanding young man,” Daniel told Varley.
Two old school guys, though Daniel still has authority to call Miller a “young man.” Daniel in his big, straw hat at training camp, watching over Miller quietly go about his work. It’s one of those sights you’ll miss at camp this year.
Across the board, the story on Miller is uniform. A selfless leader and total professional.
“For me personally, coming in as a new coach five years ago he got behind me immediately, which is a big thing for a new coach on a staff of existing guys,” Haley reflected of his time after being hired as the team’s offensive coordinator.
And now it’ll be on Jesse James to apply what he’s learned from Miller. “Heath opened his arms, opened his toolbox to try and teach Jesse all of the things that he learned…I think Jesse will continue that work ethic Heath taught.”
James would be the starter if the team had to play today, though it remains to be seen how the Steelers will address the need in the offseason. We’ve covered those bases pretty thoroughly, ranging from Dwayne Allen or Jermaine Gresham in free agency to Hunter Henry or Nick Vannett in the draft. Look for a scouting report on Western Kentucky Tyler Higbee in the morning, making him our fifth tight end scouting profile so far.