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One of the best ever called it quits

Posted Feb 19, 2017

The best tight end in Steelers' history called it quits on this day in 2016.

This Day in Steelers History

February 19, 2016

Tight end Heath Miller announced his retirement  

Heath Miller didn’t want any fanfare when he retired from the Steelers, instead just releasing a statement.

“Today, I informed the Steelers of my plans to retire,” Miller’s statement read. “I realize how extremely fortunate and grateful I am to have spent my entire career as a Pittsburgh Steeler. I would like to thank the Rooney Family, Kevin Colbert, Bill Cowher, Mike Tomlin, James Daniel and the rest of the Steelers organization for giving me the opportunity to live out my childhood dream. I will always cherish and value the special bonds that I formed with my teammates. It was truly an honor for me to take the field with them. I am also appreciative of my entire family and all of the coaches who helped me along the way. Additionally, I want to thank Steelers Nation, the best fans in the NFL.

“Lastly, I owe the biggest thank you to my wife, Katie, and our four children for their unwavering support.”

And with that, the best tight end in Steelers’ history quietly stepped away from the game.

But what did for the team, will remain forever.

Miller was the Steelers No. 1 pick in the 2005 NFL Draft. Miller, who played 11 seasons, started 167 of 168 games played during the regular season, and he started all 15 postseason contests that he played in. Miller’s 168 regular-season games played are the most by a tight end in Steelers’ history.

“It’s been an honor and a pleasure to coach him, to watch him grow and evolve and perform,” said Tomlin after Miller’s retirement. “To watch him grow in every way. To watch his sons get old enough to come to work with him on a Saturday morning and see those relationships. He is not low maintenance, he has been no maintenance. He has always put the Pittsburgh Steelers first in every aspect of his professional life. I don’t know that I can describe that. I don’t know if there has been a guy that I have been around that is like him from an unselfish standpoint. Largely and in every instance, we are all human, we all fall short. I don’t know if I have ever seen a regrettable moment in him. That just speaks to who he is.

“His talent. His commitment. His drive, determination. The day to day example he set for others. The legacy that is his career will touch us and specifically the tight end position here in Pittsburgh for a long, long time. I imagine there will be guys that reflect and represent his values for years to come. Impactful guys like him always do. The spirit and competitiveness of Hines Ward lives on in the day to day performance of guys like Antonio Brown. We are going to see similar things in terms of the impact of Heath Miller.”

Miller retired as the all-time leader in receptions (592), receiving yards (6,569) and receiving touchdowns (45) by a tight end. He was a member of the Steelers’ Super Bowl XL and XLIII Championship teams, a two-time Pro Bowl selection, and team MVP in 2012.   

Ben Roethlisberger, Miller’s quarterback and close friend during his entire career, shared his emotions on the day Miller retired.

“To put together a statement is hard because where do you start with Heath Miller?” said Roethlisberger. “For someone like me that has been blessed to play with someone like him, not just from a physical standpoint of how great of a football player he was, but the type of person he was, the type of teammate he was. Probably hands down the best teammate I have been a part of.

“It’s hard to talk about Heath, and I said this talking to him, it’s hard to do it without getting emotional. That’s how much he has meant to me as a football player, teammate and friend. I have been so lucky and blessed to have Heath around my whole career, 11 years. To have someone like him on my side has truly been a blessing.”

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