Veteran tight end Heath Miller decided to retire from the Pittsburgh Steelers several weeks ago and while he never was one to do a ton of interviews over the years, he was a guest Monday on the Hines Ward Show and was immediately asked by former teammate Hines Ward what went into his decision to retire this offseason.
“Well, I think for me it was a number of reasons, it just wasn’t one reason,” said Miller. “Obliviously I played in the league a long time, 11 years, and I think I always wanted to; to one, walk away from the game with my health for the most part and I feel like I’m doing that. Two, I didn’t want to stick around too long and continue to play when I feel like I wasn’t able to play to the level that I’m accustomed to playing. And three, I have a growing family and as you know, once you have kids, it gets harder and harder to be way from them and so those are a few of the things. A lot of signs pointed and told me the time is right and so I made the decision.”
Later on in the interview, Miller was asked if he and his family will remain in Pittsburgh now that he has retired and he said that they will be migrating back to Virginia in the near future.
“As you can imagine, there’s a lot of change coming and we’re going to take it a little bit at a time and make sure that we’re doing the right things,” Miller said of his families’ immediate future.
So, what will Miller miss most when it comes to playing for the Steelers?
“I’ll miss the locker room, the relationships that you make along the way,” said Miller. “I’ll miss playing on Sundays. I’m sure that I’ll be able to answer that question after I’ve been through it a couple of years, or have been out of it a couple of years, and will really know exactly what I miss the most.”
Late in the interview, Ward asked Miller if he’d consider coming out of retirement during the offseason if the Steelers were making a playoff run and needed an experienced tight end due to an injury.
“No, I’m totally at peace with my decision and trust me, It’s going to take me a lot longer than a week to get in shape to be able to play at this stage of my life. So, I’m at peace with my decision.”
Last week, the Steelers signed unrestricted tight end Ladarius Green to a four-year, $20 million contract with the hope being he can fill Miller’s shoes moving forward. That won’t be an easy task as Miller as averaged 63 catches and 676 receiving yards over the course of his last four seasons. Additionally, Miller’s quiet leadership will also be hard to replace.