One Year To Date Of Horrific Injury, Zach Miller Living Life With Normalcy He Cherishes

October 29, 2018 - 4:56 pm

LAKE FOREST, Ill. (670 The Score) -- The scars of nine surgeries will remain with Bears tight end Zach Miller forever, a permanent reminder of all he has been through. The perspective will stay with him too, ensuring he will never take the little things for granted.

Monday marked one year to the date of the horrific injury that Miller suffered in New Orleans -- his left knee snapping and starting a race against the clock to save his leg -- and it was just another day for him. 

"I’ll tell you what," Miller said Monday. "There are some things in your normal life that you take for granted: walking, getting in and out of the shower, going to the bathroom, everyday things what we as people do. It gives you perspective on all of that. 

"I’m just very thankful. It makes you appreciate all the things that you can do."

Ever since Miller's knee buckled and he tore his popliteal artery in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome end zone a year ago, he has been the source of tremendous inspiration to those around him. Family, friends, teammates and so many more watched him fight through surgery after surgery. They saw him work for those first steps and walk under his own power. They now see the determination he carries as he gets closer to running again.

Miller has left those around him constantly marveled.

"Zach is one of my favorite people I’ve been around in a long time," Bears coach Matt Nagy said. "I absolutely love the kid. He’s somebody we feel very fortunate and lucky to have be a part of this family and this organization.

"He’s as humble, down to earth, happy person that just loves life. He loves people, and he’s a great teammate. Our guys feed off him, I feed off him."

The 34-year-old Miller is spending this season on the injured reserve list. That designation allows him to remain an active and encouraging presence around the Bears, as he spends his days at Halas Hall and works out as part of the team. He has contributed to teammates in the film room and team meetings and been present on the sidelines and in the locker room. 

Miller hasn't officially retired from football. He still carries the hope of playing football once again but has yet to reach a point at which doctors can determine if he can ever take the field again.

"If I can’t, then I’d be willing to accept that fact that I gave everything I could to get there," Miller said.

The goal for Miller in the aftermath of this injury wasn't about football but family. He's a husband and a father to three and has enjoyed that role now in a different light. Playing basketball with his son, Kash, carries a different perspective after nearly losing his left leg. 

Those were all moments that Miller admits he took for granted before his injury and ones he savors now. It's normalcy, and a year later it's still his.

"The main thing was can I enjoy everyday life with my kids?" Miller recalls asking the doctors. "Can I run around in the backyard, throw the football, kick a soccer ball and be able to beat them until they at least get into high school? Because that's what I'm planning on doing. 

"That was the main thing and, yeah, they're already falling in line. I'm already able to do that, which for me, that's a win. So, if I get to be able to do that for a very long time, I'll be happy."

Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.​