Chicago Bears tight end Zach Miller announced his retirement from the NFL today in an Instagram post thanking the city of Chicago.
Miller, now 34, was drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the sixth round of the 2009 NFL Draft and spent three seasons in a Jaguars uniform, appearing in 33 games and hauling in two-thirds (45 of 60) of the passes thrown his way, picking up four touchdowns along the way. His 2011 season was limited due to an injury that put him on the injured reserve in October.
At the start of the 2012 season, Miller was cut by Jacksonville before re-signing days later and being played on the injured reserve … and then being cut again weeks later. He latched back on in Jacksonville thanks to a futures contract, but did not appear in a good situation again until 2014. By then, he was playing with the Chicago Bears.
Unfortunately, he landed on the injured reserve in Chicago and did not make his first regular season appearance with them until after being re-signed in 2015. He stood out that season, hauling in 34 of 46 passes in 15 games (14 starts), picking up what would end up being a career-high five touchdowns.
He posted good numbers again in 2016 through eight starts (10 total games), hauling in 47 of 64 passes and four touchdowns. But his life changed in 2017.
Miller was off to another great start and it appeared he had found his mojo, but in early Week 8 of the 2017 season (having hauled in 20 of 35 targets for two touchdowns in the first eight weeks) he got crossed up in the end zone and found himself on the ground injured. Miller had gruesomely dislocated his knee and, as it turned out later, was close to losing his leg before one of nine eventual surgeries saved his limb. Miller landed on the physically unable to perform list but remained with the Bears in hopes of being able to return to Solder Field again as a player.
With Miller’s announcement today, those hopes come to an end. His playing career is over, but he will forever be remembered in Chicago and across football for his perseverance, courage (just last week, Miller received the Ed Block courage award) positive attitude, and football talents.