EAGAN, Minn. — As he sat near the stage Sunday night in Canton, Ohio, listening to speeches from Peyton Manning, John Lynch and others, Von Miller thought about it.
Same when he met teammate/close friend Brandon McManus’ favorite player, kicker Morten Andersen.
And same when he gathered at Manning’s post-ceremony party, catching up with teammates and coaches.
What was on Von’s mind? His induction to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
“I want that, I want it bad,” Miller said Wednesday after the Broncos’ first joint practice with the Minnesota Vikings. “When you’re sitting there and listening to all those speeches, of course, you think about it. I was just reinvested in myself — I have to make sure it happens and leave no mistake on my career so I can get in. I still have a lot of time to do it. I thought about doing more to make sure I get in there.”
Miller and McManus were excused from Sunday’s practice to attend Manning’s induction at his invite. They are the two remaining current Broncos who were on the 2015 Super Bowl team.
“The Hall of Fame was an incredible experience,” Miller said. “This was my second (attended) ceremony and my first after-party kicking it with all the guys and it was really like a football reunion.
“It felt like we were in the locker room again and it was 2014 and (safety) T.J. Ward was cracking jokes on everybody. Everybody was having just so much fun.”
After getting his work in against the Vikings and right tackle Brian O’Neill, Miller was introspective, which has become semi-common for No. 58 as he enters his 11th season and the final year of his contract. Yes, he believes he has plenty of football left in the proverbial tank, but also knows he had only nine sacks in 2019 and didn’t play last year because of an ankle injury.
According to Pro Football Reference’s database, Miller’s 106 sacks rank tied for 39th all time. Every eligible player with at least 137 1/2 has a gold jacket.
Miller has work to do to get into the first-ballot conversation that will include DeMarcus Ware next year. He knows it.
Coach Vic Fangio didn’t commit to playing Miller against the Vikings on Saturday and said his practice work has “been good lately.”
The Broncos need Miller to be really good at the least or great at the most to play meaningful games in December, much less end their five-year playoff drought.
To that end, Miller said he needs some game work this month to feel comfortable going into the Sept. 12 lid-lifter against the New York Giants.
“I think I need to play a little bit for sure,” he said.
Miller added with a laugh: “I don’t know if I need to play all three preseason games or the whole game (laughing). But there’s no doubt I need to sharpen the knife. I haven’t played in over a year and it will be good to get into a groove again.”
Rehabilitating while the Broncos played last year, having to grind his way to being cleared physically and having his days of practice managed during camp has required a new level of focus. Miller has sat out three of the 12 practices for maintenance purposes.
“This whole year has really taught me to control what you can control,” Miller said. “I’ve always felt like that’s the cheat code to everything in life. The last year has definitely taught me a lot about patience and staying in the moment and really just enjoying my football career while I have it.”
Another stage to normalcy for Miller was Tuesday night, when the Broncos checked into their hotel.
“I thought, ‘Man, this is the first time in the team hotel in over a year,’ and then everything started to follow and be normal,” he said.
Asked about his form, Miller said: “It’s trending up. I wouldn’t say I’m 100% all the way there. There are still some things to work out.”
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