PITTSBURGH – This was Heath Miller’s reaction when told he was within one catch of becoming the Steelers’ all-time leading receiver for tight ends:
Make no mistake, he was being honest. Heath Miller is that humble.
A reporter jokingly asked Miller why he didn’t have a chart or list of the Steelers’ all-time top receivers, of which Miller is currently tied with Elbie Nickel for fifth place overall.
“I’ve got it in there somewhere, maybe,” Miller said as he pointed to his locker. He then pointed to the floor. “Maybe it’s buried under these papers here.”
Miller, with his 329 career catches, figured he was somewhere close to Nickel, a tight end in the 1950s, because reporters have been asking about it lately. And Miller always has the same “it doesn’t really matter” look on his face, if not the exact words coming from his mouth.
So Miller needs one catch to move into fourth place all-time on the Steelers’ receiving list, eight to move past Hall of Famer Lynn Swann into third place, and 95 yards receiving to move past Santonio Holmes for ninth place in yardage.
This season, Miller has 43 catches for 508 yards.
“I’ve been here long enough,” said the seven-year veteran. “I guess eventually those things should come if you’re fortunate enough to be with the same team the number of years I’ve been here. I don’t think I’m catching Hines [Ward] anytime soon, though.”
Miller was honored in another way Wednesday when he was named to the USA Football All-Fundamentals Team for “exhibiting exemplary football techniques for youth players to emulate.”
Miller was one of 26 players chosen for the team (11 offense, 11 defense, 4 special teams) by a five-man committee made up of Charles Davis, Herm Edwards, Merril Hoge, Jim Mora and Carl Peterson.
Miller said he was honored by the committee, which will forward a $1,500 grant to the youth or high school program of his choice.
Miller credited his position coach at the University of Virginia, Andy Heck, for teaching him the fundamentals of his position after spending his first two games in college as a quarterback.
“I didn’t know anything about blocking,” Miller said. “My position coach was a 10-year NFL veteran as an offensive tackle. He taught me everything I know, as far as blocking is concerned.”
Heck, now the offensive line coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars, was a first-year graduate assistant at the time.
“I feel fortunate to have been taught from the ground up, pretty much, by him,” Miller said. “And then coming here with coach [James] Daniel has added to that. I’ve had good coaches. I’ve been lucky with that.”
And the Steelers have been lucky to have Miller. Not that he’d ever think so.