EAGAN, Minn. – As he sat by the stage on Sunday night in Canton, Ohio, listening to speeches by Peyton Manning, John Lynch and others, Von Miller thought about it.
Same thing when he met his teammate / close friend’s favorite player Brandon McManus, kicker Morten Andersen.
And the same when he gathered at Manning’s post-ceremony party, catching up with his teammates and coaches.
What was Von thinking? His induction into the Professional Football Hall of Fame.
“I want it, I want it badly,” Miller said Wednesday after the Broncos’ first joint practice with the Minnesota Vikings. “When you sit there and listen to all this talk, of course you think about it. I just got reinvested in myself – I have to make sure that happens and don’t leave any mistakes on my career so I can get in. I still have plenty of time to do this. I thought about doing more to make sure I got into it.
Miller and McManus were excused from Sunday practice to attend Manning’s induction at his invitation. These are the two remaining current Broncos who were part of the 2015 Super Bowl squad.
“The Hall of Fame has been an incredible experience,” Miller said. “It was my second ceremony (which I attended) and my first after-party with all the guys and it was really like a football reunion.
“It was like we were in the locker room again and it was 2014 and (security) TJ Ward was making jokes on everyone. Everyone was having so much fun.
After doing his job against the Vikings and right tackle Brian O’Neill, Miller was introspective, which has become semi-common for the No.58 as he enters his 11th season and final year of his contract. Yes, he thinks he has plenty of football left in the proverbial tank, but also knows he only had nine sacks in 2019 and didn’t play last year due to an injury to the peg.
According to the Pro Football Reference database, Miller’s 106 sacks are tied for 39th all-time. Each eligible player with at least 137 1/2 has a Gold Jacket.
Miller has work to do to get into the first round conversation which will include DeMarcus Ware next year. He knows it.
Coach Vic Fangio did not pledge to face Miller against the Vikings on Saturday and said his training job had “been good lately.”
The Broncos need Miller to be really good or excellent at best to play meaningful games in December, let alone end their five-year playoff drought.
To that end, Miller said he needs a bit of work on the game this month to feel comfortable stepping into the September 12 lift against the New York Giants.
“I think I have to play a bit for sure,” he said.
Miller added with a laugh, “I don’t know if I have to play all three preseason games or the whole game (laughs). But there is no doubt that I need to sharpen the knife. I haven’t played for over a year and it will be good to get back on track.
Readjusting while the Broncos played last year, having to work your way to be physically cleared and manage his training days during camp required a new level of focus. Miller abandoned three of the 12 practices for maintenance.
“This whole year has really taught me how to control what you can control,” Miller said. “I always felt like this was the cheat code for everything in life. The last year has certainly taught me a lot about being patient and staying in the moment and really enjoying my football career while I have it.
Another step towards normalcy for Miller was Tuesday night when the Broncos checked into their hotel.
“I was like, ‘Dude, this is the first time in the team hotel in over a year,’ then it all started to follow and be normal,” he said.
Asked about his form, Miller said, “It’s an upward trend. I wouldn’t say I’m 100% there. There are still things to be resolved. “