Just like he'd hoped, Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller was at Super Bowl media day in Indianapolis at the close of his debut season in the NFL. Unfortunately, he was on the wrong side of the microphone, conducting interviews of players from the New York Giants and New England Patriots instead of fielding questions as one of the game's participants.
"It's sort of bittersweet, I was hoping that we would be here and I'd be on the other side of the barricades," Miller told The Huffington Post. "It's definitely motivation for us, for my teammates to get out here."
That the Broncos came up short of their ultimate goal is hardly an indictment of the No. 2 pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. Miller seamlessly made the leap from Texas A&M to playing on Sundays this season, recording 11.5 sacks and 50 solo tackles while playing 79 percent of the team's defensive snaps despite dealing with an injured thumb that would require surgery.
The last time most football fans saw Miller, he was embroiled in an on-field fracas as the Broncos were being unceremoniously dumped from the playoffs by the Patriots. With New England leading Denver, 45-10, late in the fourth quarter of the pair's AFC Division Playoff Game, Tom Brady executed a quick-kick punt. It was a trick play and caught the reeling Broncos defense off guard. As the play unfolded, Miller shoved a Patriots player and, soon enough, several players from each team were tangled in a skirmish that spilled over on to the sideline.
"It was on third down so I felt like it was just too much," Miller told The Huffington Post. "I let my emotions get the best of me. That was in the past, I feel like I would have handled it differently if it ever would've happened again."
While certainly disappointed by that loss, Miller has been striking almost exclusively positive notes as he journeyed to Honolulu for the Pro Bowl and this week as he attends various Super Bowl events in Indianapolis, where he is working with the Gatorade Sports Science Institute.
"Of course, I'm a hater and I'm looking for the Giants to have an awesome game," joked Miller from Indianapolis, adding "It's OK with me either way, but I'm pulling for the Giants."
Aside from sharing his rooting interests for the Super Bowl, Miller took the time to discuss the Broncos' memorable season, Tim Tebow, and how he would feel if John Elway were to bring Peyton Manning to Denver.
On The Broncos' Season:
We were able to come back from a 1-4 start and make the playoffs and win a playoff game. I think it was the first time in like 10 years that we've done that to get Broncos Nation back excited again.
On Tim Tebow
I felt like every single practice that he got better at something. It might not have been this attribute or this, [but] it was always something and he would get better every day. With his mindset and his personality, it's kind of hard for him not to get better. He's the most consistent guy I know and he's going to keep on working to be the quarterback that he wants to be that, that we want him to be and that the fans want him to be.
On Tebow's Future In Denver
As far as what Mr. Elways is doing, that is what you have to be doing to be successful in this league. You can't just put all your eggs in one basket. It's all up to Tim. In my opinion, I feel like he can get it done. But, looking at it from Mr. Elway's point of view, you always got to be defining your options. What's the next thing? And that's just how the league is today.
On The Possibility Of Elway Bringing Peyton Manning To Denver
I trust John Elway with everything. He put our team in an incredible situation this year and if he did that then I'd ride with him and it would be a good lift for Broncos Nation.
On Peyton Manning's Status With The Colts
Like I said, it's the same thing that's going on with Tim. You've got to always look what's the best route for your organization. IF the guys up in the top office of the Colts decide that Peyton's not really your option then I'm sure a team will pick him up and he'll have a chance to further his career and show the world how good he is.
On Peyton Manning's Injury Risk
That's a risk for everybody takes. If you're not ready to come back and you rush it back, that's extremely dangerous. But Peyton has been playing this game for an extremely long time and I feel like he'll make the best decision for him, his career and his team.
On His Thumb Injury
It's doing a lot better. Hopefully you don't have to experience an injury like this [but] it's already getting better two weeks out of surgery. I'm just looking forward to getting back into training camp and working again.
On His Presence In Indy
I'm working with Gatorade. It's just a huge opportunity. I'm working with the rookies and just being able to mentor Melvin Ingram and seeing the stuff that he did. I was just here a year ago it's amazing to see these guys go through the same process. I'm just stressing the nutritional aspect of the professional game. In the league everyone is fairly the same so you're always looking for the extra edge. So nutrition, for me, is the way to go. I've just been stressing before, after, during what they need to do to maintain their endurance and play at an opportune level.
Super Bowl Week vs. Tebowmania
It's almost the same [laughs]. It's totally different. It's a totally different excitement. You can really compare. Tim is great guy and Super Bowl weekend is a great weekend. But they're two totally different things.