Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Tough Turf Georgia Dome Found a Way to Bring Miller to His Knees

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Tough Turf Georgia Dome Found a Way to Bring Miller to His Knees

Article excerpt

Midway through the 1992 season, Atlanta quarterback Chris Miller led NFL quarterbacks in touchdowns (15) and completions (152) and was headed to another Pro Bowl.

Playing at home in Game 8 against the Rams, his personal nightmare began. Scrambling in the Georgia Dome, Miller's leg got caught on the artificial turf. The non-contact play injured his knee and forced him to undergo season-ending surgery.

He would play only 16 of his next 40 regular-season games. In Game 4 of 1993, coach Jerry Glanville sent him out in a mop-up role in a Monday night blowout loss to Pittsburgh. Miller went up for a jump pass, came down on the same knee and injured the knee again. End of season. End of Atlanta experience.

Miller couldn't wait to get out of town.

"After you blow out your knee twice on the same turf without getting hit, there's a hidden message there somewhere - maybe saying get your (butt) out of there and go try somewhere else," Miller said.

Miller was not embraced by the fans in Atlanta. He was viewed as injury-prone, perhaps an unfair knock given the fact that his first surgery didn't go well. Miller switched doctors for the second surgery, had it done in Vail, Colo., and never returned to Atlanta.

An unrestricted free agent after the '93 season, Miller wanted to play on the West Coast, to be closer to his home in Oregon. And he wanted to play his home games on grass. The Los Angeles Rams were a perfect fit, until of course, they moved to St. Louis, home of more artificial turf.

"Now I'm on turf, 13 out of 16 games this season," Miller said. "I think we just ought to stay in Busch next year since they're putting grass in. Forget the dome. Let them use it for something else."

That won't happen. He will play tonight, against his old team, in what may be the last professional football game played in Busch Stadium. While conceding that playing the Falcons is special, Miller says he's not nearly so worked up as last season, when he played at Atlanta in his second game with the Rams. …

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