PITTSBURGH - Heath Miller knows his football career isn't over, just paused. When the injured Pittsburgh Steelers Pro Bowl tight end will be able to hit the "play" button again is anybody's guess.
While allowing there's "a chance" his surgically repaired right knee could be ready before the season opener against Tennessee on Sept. 8, Miller thinks it's too early to project just when he'll slip on his No. 83 jersey and return to his job as quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's favorite target.
Pittsburgh tight end Heath Miller walks across the practice field with his right knee heavily wrapped on Wednesday in Pittsburgh.
Five months removed from a gruesome hit that prematurely ended the best season of his career, Miller's body is telling him to be encouraged. He's already running and walked around the practice field in a T-shirt and black shorts with his right knee wrapped in tape and ice during the second day of organized team activities.
The road back hasn't been easy. Miller is on an aggressive lifting program to get his right leg back into shape. Just as important is Miller's peace of mind. The pain he can deal with, the uncertainty of what his next step will hold is something else entirely. Miller figures getting a handle on the former will help him with the latter.
"That's the big thing now, the main thing, because after surgery you lose a lot of strength," Miller said. "And then there's some atrophy. So, I want to get it back to where it's as strong as my other leg."
Though Miller insists he's had "no pressure" from the team in terms of his rehabilitation, the Steelers seem to believe he'll be ready sooner rather than later. Pittsburgh brought back Matt Spaeth in the offseason but declined to pick a tight end in the draft even though Notre Dame's Tyler Eifert was available when the Steelers went on the clock with the 17th pick in the first round.
"You're not going to be healthy for your whole career," Miller said. "You just have to deal with (the injuries) and move on."