What had been speculated upon for months became a reality Thursday when linebacker Jamir Miller announced his retirement.
Miller made the announcement during a conference call with reporters who cover the Browns. In a short opening statement, Miller said that the pain hasn’t subsided in his Achille’s tendon, which he ruptured in a preseason game last August against Minnesota. He thanked the fans of both teams for which he played – Arizona and Cleveland – and expressed gratitude for making a living playing the game he loved.
The decision began to take shape when Miller walked off the field at the Metrodome, the stadium in which he suffered the injury. At no time during rehab did he feel he was making enough progress to consider a return to the field this year.
“The whole time in rehab, it was like I never reached a point where I felt normal throughout the process,” Miller said. “It was like I was learning how to walk again. It hit a point where for a long period of time it wasn’t improving. That’s when I went to see a specialist, and he gave me recommendation. Then I went to another specialist, and he gave me the same recommendation.
“After receiving the recommendation (to retire), I thought long and hard. It’s sad to announce that I’m retiring from the NFL.”
Miller said that all teams knew the extent of his injury and that the possibility of retiring existed. He refused to say if he would have signed the $1.7 million offer the Browns had on the table.
“All these teams knew I wasn’t healthy,” Miller said. “None one could say I was healthy. They all knew I had a lot of rehab to do. I felt that eventually I would get better. A month passed and my body didn’t react the way I thought it would. That’s why I had to take steps I did.”
Miller sidestepped criticizing the Browns’ front office. More than one time team president Carmen Policy publicly stated that Miller needed to make a quick decision.
Miller was somewhat critical of coach Butch Davis, who suggested that the injury could have been the result of improper offseason conditioning. Davis wasn’t pleased that Miller refused to participate in the team’s offseason conditioning program last year.
“For anyone to say that is was because of a lack of conditioning is ridiculous,” Miller said. “You don’t last nine years without being in top shape.”
Miller said that he will continue to follow the Browns’ development, on and off the field. He noted that he wanted to end his career in Cleveland, and he said that the possibility exists that he could get his wish.
If Miller returns to Cleveland, it would likely be in a front-office capacity. Although he thinks he could still play again once the pain goes away, he said he won’t waver on his decision.