Only one former Maverick remains in the NFL.
After a gruesome injury that almost cost him his left leg and after months of recovery, former Maverick quarterback Zach Miller has decided to retire from the NFL and the Chicago Bears. The decision was announced via the tight end’s Instagram account.
“To the city of Chicago,” he wrote, “the time has come to move on from playing the game of football… 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.”
Miller was drafted in 2009 by the Jacksonville Jaguars where he played 33 games in three seasons. An injury kept him sidelined and eventually he was cut by the Jags. After a time of transition, he landed in Chicago.
That was when Miller began to shine. In his three seasons as a Bear, Miller scored 11 touchdowns and became a mainstay in the organization. Even after his injury, he remained on the team to help his teammates grow.
“We [routinely] talk through some ways that he can help out,” said Bears Head Coach Matt Nagy in an ESPN interview. “We just feel like everybody should be a part of this thing and he loves that, he’s good at it, so let’s use him.”
Miller was injured while making a diving catch near the goal line in a game against the New Orleans Saints in 2017. After landing awkwardly on his leg, he was rushed to a local hospital. Doctors nearly had to amputate his left leg after a gruesome dislocated knee caused complications.
Miller played from 2005 to 2008 with the Omaha Mavericks. As starting quarterback, Miller led the team to three conference championships, four NCAA Division II playoff appearances and 33 total wins. He earned a spot on two all-conference first team lists from 2006 to 2007 and he was named North Central Conference’s Most Valuable Player in 2007 when he led Omaha to a 10-win season.
It wouldn’t surprise anybody to see Miller remain in Chicago and take a staff position with the team because of his popularity.
“I had a first-class seat throughout all of last year,” Miller told ESPN. “It was special because now you see the game through a different viewpoint… I’d love to do anything and everything I could to stay around this game I love.”
While one Maverick remains in the NFL, Miller was the last to have graduated from Omaha. Greg Zuerlein (place-kicker for the Los Angeles Rams) finished his collegiate career at Western Missouri after the football program was terminated suddenly in the spring of 2011. Miller and Zuerlein had played together for the Mavericks in 2007 and 2008.