It's not often you have a true leader on a football team, someone you can completely rely upon and look up to, who is one of the quietest guys on and off the football field. A guy who doesn't want to be heard, doesn't feel the need to be heard. A guy who would probably rather have a root canal than have to answer questions about himself.
It's also not often that a player like Heath Miller comes along. The Steelers tight end is unique, one of the best to play the position year after year, and one of the most humble individuals you will ever come across.
"Heath Miller is the ultimate professional," said tight ends coach James Daniel. "He is someone every young player, and veteran, can look to as an example."
It's Miller's work ethic, his approach to every day that sets him apart. In the middle of the offseason, he is in the weight room bright and early. He never takes a snap off in practice, approaching every one like a game is on the line.
Steelers' rookies, including tight end Jesse James, just need to look at Miller to know what it takes to be a professional. He doesn't have to tell them what to do, they just simply need to stand back and watch.
"I think in that case actions speak louder than words," said Miller. "When they see guys on the team out there working hard, guys who have been around for a long time, they take notice."
James definitely has, long before he was drafted by the Steelers. He grew up in the Pittsburgh area, a Steelers fan, and a Miller fan. Miller laughed that he is now teammates with someone who watched him 'as a kid.'
"It makes you feel really old," said Miller. "It's kind of neat I guess. But it does make you feel a little aged."
Miller has been around for a while, entering his 11th season with the Steelers. Only Ben Roethlisberger has been a part of the offense longer, as the quarterback is in his 12th year.
"It takes a lot of good fortune to start with and I am fortunate to be playing for a good organization, have a good position coach and am surrounded by good players," said Miller. "I think you learn early on that hard work pays off and you try to carry that through."
The Steelers will wrap up their offseason program on Thursday, the final day of minicamp, and then it will be time to get ready for training camp. Miller knows what to expect, but for those in an NFL training camp for the first time, he does have some words of wisdom.
"Just be prepared mentally," said Miller. "You should know your plays by now, so be comfortable with that so when you are on the field you can go play your best. On top of that be in good shape because it's going to be taxing on your body and just be prepared for that.
"It's a faster pace. We are playing for real now. You have the physical part of it too. Not only are you trying to figure out what you have to do, but you are figuring out how you have to do it and then you have to do it. If you can take the mental part out of it, it helps a lot."