Eight months ago, when the Broncos had lost to the Ravens and were preparing for a long, long offseason, if you had told me that Von Miller was going to be the subject of negative press and a near-half season suspension, I’d have told you you were nuts.
From every person I’ve heard speak of Miller, every article I’ve read, every interview I’ve watched, Miller seems like a goofy, down-to-earth dude who has fun playing the game of football. After just two years with the team, he was considered one of the leaders of the defense (probably still is) and one of the best defensive players in all of football.
There’s no way the former second pick in the draft could mess that up, right?
Well, not so fast.
Apparently Miller had failed drug tests before he entered the league in 2011, which the Broncos HAD to have prior knowledge of. That means he was put in the NFL’s drug program which requires more extensive and frequent testing.
Miller was caught with a diluted sample which could have been a number of different things, but the NFL saw fit to suspend him for six games after Miller appealed the original desire (we think) for the NFL to ban him for eight games.
The original report was that Miller was fighting a four-game suspension, but we all turned out to be wrong about that one.
After some optimism that Denver might not have to be without Miller for any games this season, the six game suspension took most people by surprise. The Broncos now had a situation on their hands with the Elvis Dumervil fiasco earlier in the offseason, and then Miller being banned for six games.
Then reports surfaced that Miller was arrested for missing a court appearance over a traffic violation in Denver. Then he was cited for driving without a license. Now, Miller has apparently got an arrest warrante out in California for another missed court date in 2012.
How did the NFL/Broncos not know about THAT?
This is absolutely incredible. Miller’s infractions are all minor, but combine them together and you have a really unsettling situation for Broncos fans. Miller is not out pulling Aaron Hernandez stunts. He’s not got any involvement (to our knowledge) in dog fighting, although he may be into chicken fighting…
Miller hasn’t been getting wasted and getting behind the wheel of a car. He hasn’t been getting arrested for drugs, nor has he been arrested for carrying around weapons.
In other words, it COULD be a lot worse. That’s not the point. The point is that Miller is seemingly having a rough time keeping hold on his personal life. People get caught speeding all of the time. Heck, if you haven’t got a speeding ticket, you’re in a group that includes about one percent of the world’s population, probably less than that.
The problem I have is that Miller didn’t just send in the money to pay for the tickets. Send in the money, and you don’t have to go to court. Send in the money, and you have no arrest warrant–in two different states. These are childish, petulant mistakes that are costing Von Miller valuable good grace of the NFL commissioner, so no matter if the traffic violations are a big deal to any of us or not, it could be a big deal to the league in the long run.
Let’s get a few things straight here, though.
Number one, the Broncos are not cutting or trading Von Miller anytime soon, nor are they letting him walk in free agency. Miller is an extremely rare talent who needs to clean up his act, but you’re not going to get appropriate value for a player like him, nor are the Broncos probably interested in exploring that situation.
Number two, Miller’s not likely going to have his suspension added to. Like I said before, I find it hard to believe the NFL didn’t know about Miller’s outstanding arrest warrant, and even if they didn’t they’d be setting a precedent with traffic violations and court appearances that have likely been violated numerous times in the past. The league is only going to suspend Von if he has a run-in with drugs of any kind again.
Miller needs to get his legal ducks in a row. I’m sick of reading these negative headlines with his name involved. He’s not a bad guy from what everyone says, but he’s obviously not the sharpest knife in the drawer and needs someone to help him out and mentor him.
The Broncos hopefully have already intervened and made their presence known in Miller’s personal life. If they haven’t, the time is right now to get a guy in there and basically work as Miller’s babysitter.
It’s going to be a long wait getting Miller back on the field, but once he does, all of this will be forgotten by the fans, and while an even longer suspension looms if he gets into more trouble with the league, it will be like Miller has a clear slate as it pertains to the fans.
That game against Indianapolis can’t come soon enough. Hopefully Miller is on the field in Broncos orange.