Given how last season ended, the Bills have been itching to get back to Buffalo to start preparing for a new season — especially LB Von Miller. The star pass rusher's season ended about three months earlier than he was anticipating due to the ACL injury he suffered against the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving.
Miller is back in the building for the first phase of offseason voluntary workouts, which kicked off on Monday. And even though these workouts aren't mandatory, Miller believes it's important to be present when it comes to being a part of a football team.
"It's just being around the guys, building up those relationships again, building up the camaraderie, and this is the time that we have to do it. We can't do it any time before here," Miller said. "So, I just try to be here. I like to think that I'm a leader, and I want to lead by example. So, I like to think I got to be here for my guys. I got eyes on me, and I want to be here for my guys."
The linebacker is participating in the workouts while continuing to rehab his knee and Miller gave an update as to how he's progressing.
"I just go out there and try to lift as much as I can, rehab as much as I can and I know when you put the work in, you'll get the results," Miller said. "Sitting here at month four, I feel great. I haven't started doing football stuff and rip moves and all that stuff, but I feel great, and I feel positive that I'll be ready to go early in the season for sure."
He added: "I started golfing probably midway through March, so being able to golf for about a month now it feels like it's downhill for me. Being able to walk around normally, go up and down stairs, walk around on a golf course and not really think about it."
This isn't Miller's first rodeo rehabbing an ACL injury. So having experienced it before, he's not stressing over it as much this time around because he knows that there's light at the end of the tunnel.
And knowing the work that's needed to be able to return to the field after recovering from this injury, Miller made rehabbing a priority during the offseason with the help of Dr. Dan Cooper who performed his surgery. His mornings started out in the workout room and he ended his nights rehabbing, but the father of now two sons still soaked up time with Valor and Victory, and squeezed in a round of golf when he could.
"I really maximize my day by trying to get back as fast as possible," Miller said.
Between the medical staff in Dallas and the Bills training staff at One Bills Drive, Miller said he "has the best of both worlds". The 13-year vet further shared that he trusts the team around him to get him ready for the 2023 season.
"Whatever they need me to do, I'm going to do it," Miller said. "I'm going to be ready to go when I'm ready to go. My job is to come in here and build their trust up and let them see me move and let them see me work to be confident and let me go out there and play."
Miller was greeted back in Buffalo with both new and familiar faces — and some who have taken on a new role.
Whenever the time comes for Miller to lace up for game action, it will be under a new defensive coordinator — but one Miller is no stranger to. Head coach and now DC Sean McDermott was very involved with the defense during Miller's first year with the team, so the LB expressed his excitement for next season's play caller and the new full-time addition to their defensive meetings.
"I'm fully confident in coach McDermott," Miller said. "He earned his reputation off of having great defenses and building great defensive teams. I'm super excited to have him in there full time."
The head coach was just as excited to see Miller back.
"Von's great," McDermott said. "It's great to see him back in here and I know he's been working hard and whether — I'm not a doctor, so I don't know what not having a brace on means or doesn't mean. I just know he's in a good spot and we'll see where it goes."
And even though all eyes are on the upcoming season, Miller looks to apply some of the good from last season to this season while understanding that this is a totally new and different year. He made note that the other three teams in the AFC East got better during the offseason, so it's important to not come into the 2023 season trying to do the exact same thing the team did last year.
"I'm fully confident in everything that we've been doing," Miller said. "I'm fully confident as a defensive line. Just got to keep pushing. We got a whole new season to come. I'm excited about it and we just got to take it one game at a time. We'll be all right."
Check out the new jersey numbers that were finalized for the 2023 season. Here's the complete list of players (in numerical order):