Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Miller a Tough Man to Keep Out

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Miller a Tough Man to Keep Out

Article excerpt

Steelers tight end Heath Miller, a man of many accomplishments and few words, typically and politely refused to discuss his injury.

Good thing quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was there to help.

"I've had it and I can tell you it's absolutely miserable."

Rib cartilage separation.

Steelers coach Mike Tomlin made it sound almost routine when he listed Miller on the team's injury report this week. That's what coaches do. Making a big deal of injuries is a sign of weakness, you know? A torn medial collateral ligament? Hey, they are a part of the game. A mild concussion? That's easy for a coach to say. He's not the one with the headaches.

Rib cartilage separation has to be excruciating, right?

"It feels like someone is stabbing you with a knife constantly," Roethlisberger said.

It really must hurt because Miller missed practice Wednesday and Thursday. Don't rule him out of the game Sunday in Oakland against the Raiders just yet, though. It will be something of a surprise if he doesn't practice today. Miller almost always finds a way to go, playing in 120 of a possible 124 games -- including the postseason - - during his eight-year NFL career. He missed two games in 2010 with a concussion after taking a vicious hit from Baltimore Ravens linebacker Jameel McClain, who was fined $40,000. He also missed two games in '08 with an ankle injury.

That's it.

"One tough son of a gun," Roethlisberger said of Miller.

One really fine player, too.

Miller was the first man mentioned by new offensive coordinator Todd Haley when Haley took the job in February. Miller will have a bigger role, Haley promised. Roethlisberger immediately endorsed the idea. "Especially in the red zone. Heath is so valuable down there."

Haley has followed through with the plan. He shuffles players in and out on nearly every play, but he never takes Miller off the field. Miller is just as valuable in the run game as he is in the passing game. "Like I've always said, he blocks like a lineman and catches like a receiver," Roethlisberger said.

For his part, Roethlisberger clearly has looked for Miller in the red zone. The two connected for a 4-yard touchdown in the opening- game loss to the Denver Broncos and a 1-yard touchdown in the win Sunday against the New York Jets. …

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