Broncos Miller Football

Denver Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller takes up his position during the first half against the Green Bay Packers in Green Bay, Wis., in this Sept. 22, 2019, photo. The Denver Broncos have exercised star linebacker Von Miller’s 2021 option, engaging the final season of the six-year, $114.5 million contract Miller signed in 2016 in the aftermath of his Super Bowl 50 MVP performance.

It's been nine months since Von Miller last spoke to the local Denver media. 

The star outside linebacker has stayed relatively quiet over the past several months, but has consistently stayed in the headlines — from injuring his ankle, to having off-the-field issues, to having his $18 million option picked up by the Broncos, ensuring at least one more season in Denver. 

Through it all, Miller never thought he wouldn't be a Bronco.

"I always had, like, an internal faith that I would be here," Miller said Monday at the Broncos' first organized team activities. "I said a long time ago that I wanted to be a Bronco for life and I always felt like that, even though it's a business and all this stuff. I always felt like this was home and where I was going to end up. ... I'm an optimistic guy, you guys know that. I always feel like we're going to win the Super Bowl, we're going to be the best defense, this and that. It's that same optimism I brought into this offseason. I always felt like I was going to be a Denver Bronco." 

Considering Miller is 32 years old and is coming off a season-ending ankle injury in September, combined with him being under criminal investigation in February and March, many questioned if Miller's days in Denver were numbered.

Miller's investigation by the Parker Police department was closely monitored by the Broncos, with the end result being no charges — one of the reasons his option was picked up. 

“We wanted to get everything resolved," Miller said of the investigation. "Gratefully, we got everything resolved and we’re focused on football now." 

The Broncos waited until the last possible day to pick up his option, hoping he can be the same player he was years ago. Many inside the organization believe he could be poised for a breakout season, much like he was a year ago before his injury.

"I'm not going to put a bar on what he can and can't do because I think he's capable of big things," coach Vic Fangio said. "I still see a guy who's capable of playing like he was four, five, six years ago. But it's going to be up to him to put in the time and the effort. ... As we saw (Sunday) in golf, (Phil) Mickelson proved you can still play great, but the one thing he did mention is that he did have to work harder and be more committed to his game to achieve that. And I think that applies to football players, too, even someone as talented as Von."

Miller seemed like his old self Monday, leading the players onto the field and being charismatic and playful. Though, he likely wouldn't use the word "old" to describe himself. 

While he's entering his 11th year with the organization and is one of the most veteran players on the team, he believes he can play at a high level.  

“I felt last season was going to be the season, but I feel this season is going to be a great season, too," said Miller, who leads the NFL in sacks since 2011 with 106. "I’m still running around beating everybody’s (butt). Until I see otherwise, I’m going to keep doing it and keep going. I'm like ... 30-what?"

But with age comes responsibility and Miller is focused on being a leader for a relatively young team.

"Every year, there's just so much more that you evolve to and you start to notice and pick up. I guess that just comes with playing in the league 11 years. If I've got a guy coming into my team, I want to reach out to him, I want to make him feel like, 'this your team, we want you here.'

"If the Broncos are doing good, I'm doing good. We're all kind of tied into this thing together."

That leadership starts by helping the Broncos win again, something Miller desperately wants to return to Denver.  

"We’ve lost to the Kansas City Chiefs five years in a row. I want to change that s---," Miller said. "I just want to win and compete. ... I try to change it and you've got to be a great teammate and a great leader to get us over the hump."

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