Von Miller has been in the NFL long enough to know rumors are always going to be a big part of the equation. He also isn’t about to pretend he doesn’t hear almost every single one of them.
This year in particular, it’s impossible to ignore all the talk about Aaron Rodgers or Deshaun Watson potentially joining him with the Denver Broncos.
And yes, every once in a while his mind starts to wander.
“It’s crazy to think about, you know, getting an Aaron Rodgers,” Miller said on Saturday in Las Vegas, where he hosted his fifth annual pass rush summit. “You put him on any team in the league and he changes that team.”
But Miller is too savvy to let it morph into anything more than a fleeting thought. To invest too deeply into such a tantalizing possibility would be hazardous to the psyche. Chances are he’d only be setting himself up for disappointment.
Besides, there is also young Denver quarterback Drew Lock to think about.
“If you get too emotionally involved in those guys, and then it doesn’t happen, now you got Lock over here looking like … what about now?’”Miller said. “So you don’t want to get too emotionally attached to the rumors.”
So Miller does everything he can to detach himself from the persistent noise that a franchise-altering quarterback might be on his way to Denver.
“You start thinking, ‘Oh, we’re going to get Aaron Rodgers or Deshaun Watson,” Miller said. “But hold on, wait a minute, we’ve got Drew Lock. That’s who we’re running with. That’s who we’re going into the season with until anything changes.”
As Miller spoke, the Raiders’ practice facility hovered within sight just two miles away. A little bit farther west sat Allegiant Stadium, their glimmering new home just off the Las Vegas strip.
As he and former NFL pass-rushing great DeMarcus Ware gave a 90-minute tutorial to a handful of young NFL pass rushers, Raiders defensive linemen Maxx Crosby and Solomon Thomas were among the students hanging on their every word.
It seemed a bit unusual, Miller propping himself up right smack in the middle of Raiders territory for his annual camp. Let alone sharing some of his secrets on the art of rushing the passer with a couple of players from a bitter division rival.
But Miller has always been drawn to the bigger picture of professional sports. The brotherhood that exists between players. The camaraderie among peers. The importance of giving back and playing things forward. All of which supersedes the competition that will ultimately unfold next fall.
“Some people have had backlash of ‘Why would he give his secrets away,’” Miller said. “For one, I’m just so comfortable in my game. And two, I just feel like it’s a way to give back to a game that has given so much to me.”
So he has no problem taking a willing student like Crosby under his wing.
“To be honest, I’m a huge fan of his game. I’m a huge fan of his story,” Miller said. “He’s the ‘guy’ here. We’ve been talking pass rushing for years. We’ve been friends for a long time. We’ve been following each other on Instagram even longer than that.”
Besides, Miller can’t help but be impressed with what the Raiders are building in their new home in Southern Nevada.
“I’m a fan of football,” Miller said. “And I like to make jokes with the Raiders, but they’re doing a lot of great stuff. The facility is nice. The stadium is nice. Las Vegas is ready for this. Las Vegas is ready to have a big-time sports team and for those guys to win some games.
“Hopefully, we can delay it a couple years. But they’re ready for this. And I’m excited for it. It’s good for the league.”