The time has come for Bears tight end Zach Miller to hang ’em up:
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• To the city of Chicago, my beloved bears fans and NFL fans everywhere… The time has come to move on from playing the game of football. It has been an incredible journey for myself and my entire family and we can’t thank you enough for your continued support. I would love more than anything to step on Soldier Field one last time but I physically cannot give the game and our fans what they deserve. It’s difficult to find words to express my love and gratitude to every single person that has cheered my name, picked me up and stood strong with me throughout my time in this league. I am forever grateful. To the McCaskey Family and the entire Bears organization, THANK YOU for changing my life! To my Family, teammates and coaches, I value nothing more than the friendships and love I have gained from this game! I love you all! And to everyone else chasing a dream… never stop, never settle! • -Z
Miller announced his retirement via social media, saying “the time has come to move on from playing the game of football” as part of a longer statement in which he thanked the Bears and their fans for their support. Miller played 33 games in four seasons with the Bears, catching 101 passes for 1,1611 yards and 11 touchdowns as part of a seven-year career in which he caught 146 passes for 1,631 yards and 15 scores. He was the recipient of Mitch Trubisky’s first touchdown pass in the NFL and served as a quarterback whisperer for the team last season while he spent the year on injured reserve.
Miller’s time in the league was cut short when he suffered what turned out to be a career-ending leg injury on October 29, 2017, which necessitated eight critical surgeries. Bears fans remember the play in which it happened in a loss to the Saints, but we don’t need to re-watch that again. Instead, just know the NFL eventually admitted the play should have been a confirmed touchdown.
Fans and teammates rallied around Miller as he recovered from the surgeries. Miller was recently presented the Bears’ 2018 Ed Block Courage Award for being a positive force in the Bears’ locker room and community, in addition to the heart he showed as he worked his way back to health from that gruesome injury. Despite a return to the NFL having the longest of long odds, Miller wasn’t quite ready to give up his dreams and recently indicated he was preparing to possibly make one last push. But Miller also knew the clock was ticking and even he knew he couldn’t hold on forever. That Miller seems to be at peace with this decision to call it a career is a good thing. Here’s hoping he enjoys the retired life to its fullest extent.
What’s next for Miller is to be decided, but I have a feeling the Bears would like to keep him around the team in some capacity. Remember, Miller did everything he could to provide a helping hand in Matt Nagy’s first season with the team. From breaking down film to being a Trubisky whisperer, Miller’s presence was felt around Soldier Field and Halas Hall. So even if No. 86 isn’t stepping on the field again and lining up in a formation, perhaps we haven’t seen the last of Miller with the Bears.