ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — For the first time since the Denver Broncos and Von Miller agreed to a six-year, $114.5 million contract, Miller and John Elway sat down face-to-face Wednesday morning to formally welcome in the new season.
The league’s highest-paid non-quarterback, with $70 million in potential guaranteed money in his new deal, and the Broncos’ executive vice president of football operations reaffirmed their football devotion to each other and formally moved on from what had been occasionally testy negotiations.
“It was back to normal. I’m ready to go. I’m ready to go play football,” Miller said. “I talked to John (Wednesday) morning … I’m aware of the expectations, but we have high expectations. I’m ready to get back to work.”
“I had a good meeting with Von (Wednesday) morning,” Elway said. “… all of a sudden standards and expectations are going to go way up, it’s going to be there, and he’s aware of them. … Really believe he’s just touched the surface, and he can get better. … I wanted to make sure we were on the same page. … He’s thrilled to be back, and we’re glad he’s back.”
Miller skipped the team’s offseason program during negotiations on the long-term deal — the Broncos had designated Miller the team’s franchise player — and the Super Bowl MVP was seen everywhere and anywhere in the past weeks and months. Former Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning had jokingly referred to Miller’s long list of appearances as the “world celebrity tour.”
Miller reported to training camp Wednesday with the rest of the team’s veteran players, underwent a physical and pronounced himself “ready to go.” Miller was quick to say he understands the expectations that will now come with his new contract, and that he was indeed working out plenty in his time away from the team.
“The Von Miller on the football field makes all of that other stuff go … so I never really got too far away from working out or grinding,” Miller said. “I worked out the same as I would during the season and the offseason, I just had a lot of stuff in between to do. I’m in shape. I feel totally confident in my ability to get back on the football field.”
Miller’s arrival to camp formally ended a bit of a roller-coaster ride for the player and organization. Negotiations started off “peaceful,” according to Miller, and then evolved into Miller cropping Elway out of a photo taken on the team’s White House trip, and later Miller saying there was “no chance” he would play the 2016 season on the one-year franchise player tender.
The team, too, had wanted a deal done in June, and tensions rose on both sides until a phone call from Elway to Miller during the Fourth of July weekend kick-started talks again between the Broncos and Miller’s agent Joby Branion. Asked Wednesday about the final monetary total in the historic contract Miller signed, Elway said: “I don’t care, we feel good about where we ended up. … I’m glad we got the deal done.”
“Never in a million years did I think I’d be right here, talking about this type of stuff,” Miller said. “ … Going through the contract situation, I just let my agent handle that situation. … This is the ultimate goal I had — to be here — a Bronco for life.”
Miller, the Broncos’ first pick in the 2011 draft, has 60 sacks in 72 career games, is a four-time Pro Bowler and was named the MVP of Super Bowl 50 with 2.5 sacks and two forced fumbles in the 24-10 victory over the Carolina Panthers.