Coming out of the University of Memphis in 2018 as a highly-touted receiver from the high-flying Tigers’ offensive attack, the future appeared rather bright for wide receiver Anthony Miller, who was the 51st overall pick (second round) in the 2018 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears.
What followed was a seven-touchdown rookie season, and then two seasons of 49 and 52 catches as he emerged as a legitimate go-to receiver in the Windy City. Then came a shocking trade to the Houston Texans, which started a swift decline in Miller’s career as the former second-round pick played in just two games with Houston, caught five passes for 23 yards and a score, and then was subsequently released.
After latching on with the Steelers midway through the 2021 season and still hanging around this offseason, the former high-profile wide receiver finds himself in a rather humbling situation of just trying to make a team at this point in his career, he said to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review’s Chris Adamski during minicamp in early June.
“It’s definitely a different situation than from when I just got into the league,” Miller said at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex after a Steelers minicamp practice this month, according to reporting from Adamski. “I was a second-round pick, so to go from that to now in the position where I’m doing everything I can just to make the team, it’s definitely a humbling experience.”
That humbling experience has hardened Miller, who scored a touchdown in five of his first nine games in the NFL and made things look relatively easy overall as a weapon for the Bears coming off of an All-American season at Memphis in which he caught 96 passes for 1,462 yards and 18 touchdowns.
Now, he’s scratching and clawing, trying to make his way onto the 53-man roster in the Steel City in hopes of revitalizing his career. To do that, Miller will have to show some special teams acumen. The former Memphis star has experience returning kicks and punts in college, and has returned five punts and eight kicks in the NFL — all with the Bears in 2020. He’s also had experience as a gunner covering punts in the NFL, so the ability is there.
Carving out a role and showing what he can do on special teams in the preseason will go a long way towards Miller potentially sticking around. The cards are stacked against him though, especially after the Steelers drafted the likes of George Pickens and Calvin Austin III in the 2022 NFL Draft, and signed free agent Gunner Olszewski to a two-year deal on the open market.