This time last year, Von Miller was preparing to return from a six game suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. As a result of his poor decisions and immaturity, he endured six weeks of ridicule from around the league. From analysts, to former players, to local media and even the fans, the call for Miller's head rang louder than anything else happening in the NFL.
There was plenty of speculation on whether the team should attempt trading him, recouping the value of a #2 overall draft pick and avoiding handing out a lofty, albeit risky extension. Miller used the suspension to add 16lbs of muscle to his 246lb frame, in hopes of better utilizing his power moves while rushing the passer. Once Miller made his return, in week 7, the added weight had slightly reduced his quickness, causing him to have the worst season of his career from a statistical standpoint, eventually culminating in a week 16 torn ACL.
All that had happened in 2013 was seemingly forgotten, once the 2014 off-season had begun. Miller's 2013 off-season counterpart made the football world forget about all the charity work he has done since entering the league, not to mention his physical gifts. On December 15th, 2011, Von Miller announced that he would soon be starting his own charity, named Von's Vision. The Von's Vision mission is to provide low-income Denver-area children with the eye care and corrective eye-wear needed to do their best in the classroom and in life.
Von's Vision launched in 2012, and shortly after Von partnered with Ubisoft, in a move that would see them make a $1,000 charitable donation every time Von performed a sack dance. Miller ended the 2012 season with 18.5 sacks, which triggered a total of $18,500 in donations to his charity by Ubisoft.
Since the inception of Von's Vision, Miller has been a part of multiple events each year, including his annual celebrity "Steak Out", the latest of which took place just yesterday and was sold out. Miller was never a bad guy. Immature? Absolutely. However, it must be said that he has assumed a large role within the Denver community since he was drafted by the Broncos. Take out a tumultuous two-month window and Von Miller is the poster boy for what any young NFL player should be like.
Fast forward to this 2014, after an off-season of rehabilitating his torn ACL, Miller returned to the team in time for training camp and was in the starting lineup for the season opener. This alone is amazing progress for a player who tore his ACL last December.
But even more impressive is that Miller has not only returned, but is playing better than ever. And that's saying something. Miller is currently the 2nd ranked defensive player in the league by ProFootballFocus.com, with a +17.5 rating. If it weren't for J.J. Watt being some kind of alien life form, come to Earth to wreak havoc on the football world, Miller would be the clear cut best defender in the NFL.
Von went back to what has worked for him; dropping his added weight, while retaining his muscle and quick-twitch capabilities. The product equals returning to superstar form on the field and off the field. This turn around will help keep Miller in Denver for a long time. A long, long time.
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