The Year Von Miller Almost Didn't Play Football

Von Miller opens up to STACK about the year he almost stopped playing football and offers advice for young athletes.

Von Miller

It's hard to imagine the Denver Broncos without their star defensive lineman, Von Miller. In his first NFL season, Miller racked up 64 tackles, AP Defensive Rookie of the Year, and a Pro Bowl selection. (Check out STACK's feature on Miller's Path to the Pros.)

But if Miller had gotten his way back in the Spring of 2008, we may have never gotten to know this NFL All-Star.

During his freshman year at Texas A&M, Miller skipped classes and didn't take practice seriously. Tired of his antics, head coach Mike Sherman suspended his star.

"I wanted to leave [Texas A&M]," Miller told STACK. "Football was a huge part of my life. Everything I did was for that. I didn't know what to do when it was taken away. [But] my dad really showed me it was my fault. I thought I knew everything before then, but I didn't at all."

Through "hard work and a lot of effort," and by adopting a "more serious attitude," the future two-time All-American earned his way back onto the squad. He says, "[Getting suspended] turned out to be the best thing that could have happened to me. I became so much more grateful for the sport I loved."

Are you like the college freshman version of Miller? Do you find yourself constantly getting into trouble with your coaches and parents? If so, Miller has some advice for you: "[Young athletes] need to learn to accept their position on the team and to trust their coaches… Focus on improving every day. Take it one day at a time."

Almost getting cut helped Miller truly appreciate the game of football. Check out exclusive STACK content on other athletes who almost lost the game they loved:

  1. How Injuries Sparked Olympic Cyclist Timmy Duggan's Comeback 
  2. The Power of A Positive Attitude: How Runner Gabriele Anderson Beat Cancer on Her Way to London 2012
  3. Sarah Reinersten: Meeting the Challenge

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