When people consider career-long Pittsburgh Steelers players from this era, they likely think of Ben Roethlisberger. However, from 2005 through 2015, Pittsburgh had tight end Heath Miller supporting Roethlisberger on the offense.
Miller, who led a healthy and productive career, surprised everyone by retiring in 2015. But he made plenty of money to live off of during his 11-year stint in the NFL.
Heath Miller’s college career
In another life, the Richlands, Virginia native may have been the one running NFL offenses. When Miller committed to playing for the University of Virginia in 2001, however, he did so with the intent of being a quarterback. After figuring out that he had better opportunities as a tight-end, Miller switched positions during his redshirt season.
In three years at Virginia, the young athlete amassed 1,703 receiving yards and 20 touchdowns. Miller was a focal point of the offense. While he was not a top name in the 2005 draft, he went No. 30 overall to the Pittsburgh Steelers, where he spent the rest of his career.
Miller’s NFL career
Miller entered the NFL and almost immediately showed his worth. He started 15 of the 16 games in his rookie campaign and got six touchdowns and 459 receiving yards, securing a decade-long place in the Steelers’ lineup. That year, Pittsburgh won the Super Bowl thanks in large part to both Miller and Roethlisberger.
The tight end provided a steady presence from season to season. The reliable teammate was good for 10-12 yards and a handful of touchdowns. Miller was an iron man, too, missing only eight games throughout his career. If Roethlisberger was the face of the Steelers’ franchise, Miller was one of the main muscles ensuring the face could function.
Through 11 seasons, Miller amassed 6,569 yards, 45 touchdowns, and consistently put up about 11 yards per reception. He regressed slightly in his latter years, but the two-time Super Bowl champion showed no signs of being ready to call it quits. To the shock of Steelers fans everywhere, he did just that, announcing his retirement after the 2015 season.
Heath Miller’s retirement
True to fashion, Miller retired from the NFL with little fanfare. Fans witnessed no farewell tour or giant production. He simply posted a picture on Facebook with a message that read, “Thank you, Steeler Nation,” before the Steelers announced his retirement on their website. Later, Miller explained why he cut his career short.
“It was totally my decision,” Miller said, according to The Post Game. “I always knew coming into this, I wanted to have a long career, but I also wanted to walk away with my health as much as I could. I feel like I’m doing that.”
This was around the same time Calvin Johnson and Marshawn Lynch announced their NFL departures. More was coming out about the long-term effects of football on the body, and Miller expressed that this affected his reasons for retirement. He also appreciated the support he got from teammates.
Thankfully, Miller had made his money, won his championships, and done what he set out to do in the NFL without any long-term damage.
How much is Miller worth?
Miller made a steady $3-4 million as a Pittsburgh Steeler. His steady and consistent play generated a strong income that should last him for the rest of his life. The now-37-year-old has a net worth of $35 million.
Part of Miller’s next chapter involves helping others. Staying close to the game that treated him well, Miller served as a mentor for incoming players at the 2019 NFL Combine.
There’s been no speculation about a future in coaching for the former tight end. But it’s clear that the husband and father of three boys is fond of helping the next generation of athletes.