Standing on the Sideline a Nervous Experience for Miller

Mario Haggan

HAGGAN: ... made a big play in Miller's absence. (PHOTO: MAXDENVER.COM)

MINNEAPOLIS – There was no doubt Von Miller had the energy and enthusiasm to play Sunday, even if his still-healing thumb hadn’t recovered to the point where Broncos medical personnel would allow it.

He ran whenever he could. He jumped around with teammates in celebration — never more vigorously than when his replacement at linebacker, Mario Haggan, crossed the goal line with a 16-yard interception return.

While Miller watched Haggan and fill-in pass rushers Jason Hunter and Derrick Harvey try to replicate his production, he paced … and fidgeted … and went a bit nuts.

“It was nerve-wracking. I almost had a nervous breakdown a couple of times,” Miller admitted.

“That was the first game I’ve missed in my whole football career. I don’t want to miss any more.”

The chances of that in the future dropped thanks to the rest his healing digit received Sunday.

“It was all good,” Miller said. “I respect all of our training staff. They gave me great advice: sit out this week, come back (Monday) and get some more treatment and see how it is.”

There was still a little bit of Miller on the field — in the form of Haggan, who celebrated stops at or behind the line of scrimmage by mimicking Miller’s sack dance.

“My young dog got me dancing,” Haggan said. “That’s his dance. He has fun with it. He brings a lot of life to the team, and I told him (that) if I made a big play, I was going to represent him.”

But next week, Miller expects to play — and reclaim his celebratory moves.

“That’s the plan,” he said.

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About Andrew Mason

Andrew Mason has covered the NFL since 1999, when he worked as an editor on NFL.com when the site was managed by ESPN.com. He worked six seasons (2002-07) covering the Broncos on their official website and two (2008-09) on the Panthers' site. He began MaxDenver.com in 2010 and now contributes to CBSSports.com, The Sporting News and The New York Times.
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