Big Ben on Heath Miller: ‘I could talk about him all day’

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Ben Roethlisberger Jerseys cried when he got the news. Heath Miller Jerseys was retiring from the NFL, ending a tremendously successful 11-year run for the quarterback and tight end. Roethlisberger doesn’t always get this emotional when parting ways professionally, but Miller wasn’t just any teammate.

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Roethlisberger said Miller was the best teammate he ever had.

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“He told me it was official, that he was retiring,” Roethlisberger told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “He thanked me for being his teammate and said how lucky he was to play with just one quarterback for all of his 11 years in the NFL. I told him he had it all wrong. I told I was the lucky one …

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“It’s hard for me to talk about him. It really is. Where do you start? I could talk about him all day. But I don’t know where to start.”


Roethlisberger calls Miller the most unselfish player he’s ever shared a field with.

“I’d ask him if he was open on a play and he would say, ‘No.’ Other receivers say they are open on every play, but he never did. Then, I would look at the film and hed be wide open. He always told me he didn’t want me to have to worry about him.”

How much did Roethlisberger value Miller? The quarterback cast his team MVP vote with the tight end every season.

“Whenever I wanted to get something done, I went to him,” Roethlisberger said. “That way, I could go to Coach Tomlin and say, ‘Heath and I think this …’ That meant more than if I just went to coach. Heath could get things done because everyone respected him so much.”

Miller couldn’t move like he used to by the end of his career and his blocking skills were in decline, but Roethlisberger’s words serve as a reminder that a player’s value shouldn’t be judged by his fantasy output alone.

On the bubble: 29 NFC players that could be cut

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We’ve already looked at the players that could be cut in the AFC. Let’s break down the NFC before any more actual moves happen.

Strong candidates for release

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1. Mike Wallace, Minnesota Vikings: Wallace is on this list for the second straight season, joining Trent Cole and Andre Johnson in a club no one wants to join. He still can get deep, but he is paid like a guy that can do so much more and he didn’t show great chemistry with Teddy Bridgewater. Getting released two straight years is a sign of a career in steep decline, with the market slowly catching up.

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2. Charles Johnson Jerseys, Carolina Panthers: When the Panthers narrowly kept Johnson from leaving for Atlanta in 2011 with a six-year, $76 million contract, I thought the Panthers overpaid in a typical free agent bidding war. He wound up being worth the money, a bedrock pass rusher for John Fox and Ron Rivera. Johnson can still play at a starter level, but not for a $15 million cap figure. Carolina will save $11 million against the cap by releasing him.

3. Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins: There is no drama left about whether Griffin will change teams. The Redskins will spend their quarterback money on a Kirk Cousins franchise tag. There remains plenty of mystery about the level of interest RGIII will inspire in the open market. The case against Griffin is easier to make in most cities than the case for him, but some quarterback thirsty franchise with will give him a chance. The Rams would be a logical and deliciously ironic landing spot.

4. Victor Cruz, New York Giants: The immortal football analyst Chris Wesseling has declared a hunger strike against posts about Cruz, refusing to recognize that Cruz remains in the league after 26 consecutive missed games. He currently has the second highest cap figure ($9.9 million) on a deeply flawed roster. Reports indicate Cruz is ready to take a big pay cut to stay, but negotiating those deals for a big name player is easier said than done.

5-6. Chris Long and Jared Cook, Los Angeles Rams: Long, the No. 2 overall pick of the 2008 Draft, was one year away from completing a five-year, $60.5 million contract signed in 2012. Now 30, he has only four sacks in 11 starts over the last two years. He knows he would have to take a big pay cut to stay with $11.75 million in compensation on tap. Perhaps he could wind up joining his brother in Chicago?

Cook has teased and ultimately disappointed Jeff Fisher in two cities. Can they make it three? The Rams can’t seem to quit Cook, yet Fisher has to realize a $8.3 million cap hit for a borderline starter is wacky.

UPDATE: Chris Long, James Laurinaitis and Jared Cook were cut by the Rams on Friday.

7. DeMeco Ryans, Philadelphia Eagles: Valued for his leadership, it will be tough for Ryans to survive another coaching change when the team is transitioning to a 4-3 defense. Jordan Hicks should take over in the middle.

8. Brandon Browner, New Orleans Saints: He was the NFC’s answer to the Dwayne Bowe signing, except the Saints refused to bench him. Penalties and big plays piled up wherever Browner roamed. (Browner already bid farewell to the team on Twitter, so this isn’t going out on a limb.)

9-11. Matt Kalil, Phil Loadholt, John Sullivan, Minnesota Vikings: The Vikings are in a bizarre situation on their offensive line. They have three high-priced starters that have all underperformed for various reasons and could all be released. But does the team want to start over from scratch?
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Complicating matters: Kalil was the fourth overall pick in the draft, while Loadholt and Sullivan are coming off serious injuries. Kalil has struggled badly in pass protection. The Vikings would save more than $22 million (!) in cap room by cutting all three. Kalil is due half of that and could be the most likely one to get released.

11-12. Roddy White Jerseys and Devin Hester Jerseys, Atlanta Falcons: White said after the season he wouldn’t take a pay cut to stay, which seemingly ended his incredible tenure of the team. Yet the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported this month the Falcons are leaning to retaining” White for his leadership.

“It’s not always about the talent,” general manager Thomas Dimitroff said.

No, but it’s really rare to see a team keep a 16-game starter that barely topped 500 yards at a big salary. Perhaps the Falcons see that they’ll only save $4.2 million if they cut White, and want to see how training camp goes. Hester, who is due $3 million in base salary this season, is a much safer bet to be released. He wasn’t a difference maker as a returner or receiver last year.


13. Ahmad Brooks, San Francisco 49ers: The versatile and tough outside linebacker is a great example of the NFL’s sliding scale of justice. A lesser player would have been cut before now. It was a surprise the 49ers kept Brooks going into last season even before he was indicted on misdemeanor sexual battery charges. It does not compute that his cap number ($9.6 million) would be the second highest on the team.

14. Brandon Carr Jerseys, Dallas Cowboys: Jerry Jones tried to get Carr to take a pay cut entering last season. He said no thanks, and the Cowboys still kept him. It’s hard to imagine them doing so again with a $13.817 million cap number, although the Cowboys think differently than most teams. Carr is a solid starter played like a superstar. They often retain big contracts a year too long.

15. Daryl Washington Jerseys, Arizona Cardinals: Remember him? Once one of the game’s most dynamic inside linebackers, it has been almost 26 months since Washington played after domestic violence and substance abuse problems. He remains on the suspended list, but would be nearly certain to get cut if he’s reinstated.

Potential Surprises

1. Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions: The Lions want Megatron to keep playing. One reason to believe he won’t: Coming to terms on a new contract will not be simple. Johnson has a $24 million cap hit that includes nearly $16 million in base salary. So he either needs to take a big pay cut or new Lions general manager Bob Quinn has to give an extension to a player that is questioning his football future.

Before the retirement question came up, we knew this would be a complicated negotiation with the potential for a release. (At this stage, retirement or a new contract is more likely than a release. And the whole situation could drag past the start of free agency.)

2. Nick Foles, Los Angeles Rams: Jeff Fisher named Case Keenum the starter over Nick Foles heading into the offseason, which spoke volumes. Foles’ play was even worse than his lackluster numbers indicate. Foles is due $8.75 million this season, with $6 million already guaranteed. (Another $1.75 million is guaranteed by the middle of March.) So the Rams would potentially have to pay Foles to go away, a rough reminder of how poorly general manager Les Snead handled the situation when Foles arrived last year.

3. Marques Colston, New Orleans Saints: The team has an in-house replacement in Brandon Coleman, although it won’t be easy to replace the franchise’s all-time leading receiver. Colston deserves a chance to try to make the team in camp, although his has clearly lost a step.

4-5. Jason Peters and Darren Sproles, Philadelphia Eagles: Peters was not the same dominant force last season, especially down the stretch. He’s a decent bet to be back despite a $9.7 million cap figure, but it’s a situation to watch. New coach Doug Pederson could decide to cut costs with Sproles, who could get squeezed out because the team is already paying DeMarco Murray so much money at running back.

6. Julius Peppers, Green Bay Packers: I don’t actually believe Peppers has much of a chance to be released. I just want to point out how impressive it is that Peppers is earning a salary with a cap hit over $10 million heading into his fifteenth season. He’s a freak and still has plenty of value as a pass rusher and a run stopper.

7. Kenny Britt, St. Louis Rams: Britt is the best pure outside receiver the Rams have, which is damning with faint praise. If the Rams are looking to trim costs, the Rams could shave nearly $5 million off the cap with no dead money by releasing Britt.

8. Logan Mankins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: There is a better chance of Mankins retiring than him being released, but both options are on the table if Mankins didn’t take a pay cut. Mankins has brought leadership and solid play to the Bucs since getting dealt by the Patriots.

Other Potential Cuts

1. Brandon Pettigrew, Detroit Lions: When a new regime arrives in town, Pettigrew is the type of player that usually gets swept out the door.

2-3. David Hawthorne and Zach Strief, New Orleans Saints: Strief has said he’d retire if the Saints don’t want him back. Hawthorne was not effective last season.

4. Rodger Saffold, St. Louis Rams: Remember when Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie botched signing Saffold in free agency? It wound up working out just fine because of Saffold’s injuries. The Rams have youth on the offensive line ready to replace Saffold.

5. Andre Williams, New York Giants: Tom Coughlin always seemed to have a blind spot for the Boston College grad. He’s not versatile enough to stay in the pros for long.

6-7. Gosder Cherilus and Bruce Carter, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Carter’s production has never matched up with his skill set. Cherilus has bounced around after once being a free agent prize.

Aaron Rodgers says NFL’s biggest concussion obstacle is players themselves

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GREEN BAY, Wis. — To Aaron Rodgers Jerseys, the biggest challenge the NFL faces in dealing with concussions is the players themselves, with their play-through-the-pain mentality — even now, with all the information about the dangers of head injuries.

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“The biggest obstacle, I think, would be the mindset of players,” the Green Bay Packers Jerseys Jerseys quarterback said in an interview with Bill Simmons on HBO’s “Any Given Wednesday,” taped earlier in the week. “They have people who watch every player, there’s one up in the booth and then we have a number of doctors on the sidelines watching concussions. The helmets and the pads are as safe as I think you can possibly get them at this point.

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“But players feeling comfortable self-monitoring [is still an issue]. And, if you have one, telling somebody about it.”

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Asked later in the interview if he thought the league was behind the curve on the dangers of concussions, Rodgers replied in part, “Everything’s kind of a little bit behind when it deals with money. And that’s the driver in our sport. Unfortunately, we need to get out in front of it and do more.”

As an example of players not reporting their concussions, Rodgers cited retired Detroit Lions Jerseys Jerseys wide receiver Calvin Johnson Jerseys, who in an interview with ESPN’s Michael Smith on E:60 said earlier this month that “I definitely had my fair share” of concussions that he didn’t report.

“When you’re competitive the last thing you want to do is come out of a game, regardless of what kind of injury it is — whether it’s an ankle, a knee, a rib or a head injury,” Rodgers told Simmons. “You know that the head injury is obviously more dangerous, but it’s that mindset of wanting to play through those things and until that mindset changes, there’s going to be guys like Calvin who come out and say, ‘Yeah, I played through a lot of concussions.'”

Rodgers has endured two reported concussions, both during the 2010 season.

He suffered the first on a helmet-to-helmet hit on his final pass of an overtime loss at Washington in Week 5. Rodgers absorbed a helmet-to-helmet hit on a throw that was intercepted by LaRon Landry Jerseys, setting up the Redskins Jerseys’ game-winning field goal. Rodgers told Simmons that after the collision, “one eye went metallic. I could only see out of my right eye. … It was like metallic, it was silver metallic.”

Rodgers was able to play the following week, although it’s unclear whether he would have gone back into the game had the Packers Jerseys’ defense held and gotten the ball back to the offense.

Rodgers, who would go on to lead the Packers Jerseys to the Super Bowl XLV title that season, suffered his second concussion on a scramble against Detroit in Week 14. He missed the following week’s game at New England but returned to lead the Packers Jerseys to a pair of victories to close out the regular season and clinch the final NFC playoff spot.


“The second one, I was knocked out for a split second and then I got up and my chinstrap was across my nose and you could see Gene Steratore, one of my favorite referees, and he kind of comes over to me and he’s like, ‘Hey, you OK?’ And I don’t remember this, but I’m like, ‘Yeah, I’m fine, I’m fine,'” Rodgers recounted. “So there was a timeout called, I went over to the sideline, I waved off [the medical staff], ‘I’m good, I’m good.’

“It’s kind of what’s just built into you. And then I went back out there for a couple plays, I couldn’t call the plays and we ended up getting me out of there.”

Rodgers said he and coach Mike McCarthy still joke about one of the plays he stayed in for, a play-action fake on which he had a receiver wide-open for a touchdown.

“The only thing I remember from that sequence, I was under center and I didn’t know if it was a run or a pass,” Rodgers said. “Mike and I laugh about this [now]. It’s not funny to play through a concussion — it’s not safe, I wouldn’t recommend it — [but] we laugh because it was a hard play fake to the right and I had the post [receiver] wide-open for a touchdown. But I didn’t know if it was a run or a pass, so I kind of moved backward, and then held it and got sacked and that was it. I came out of the game.”

Asked by Simmons if he believes the concussion problem will ever be solved, Rodgers pivoted the conversation to the need to address treatment of players who’ve suffered multiple concussions. Rodgers called on “the scientific community to step up and lead the way there, because I know there’s some ideas that are in trial right now for using with guys who have suffered [concussions]. That’s what we need. Because we can’t have any more situations like we’ve had the last 10 years, where you’re having guys either take their own lives or end up passing [away].

“We need to take a look at the back end [of players’ lives] and how we’re taking care of guys who are moving on who’ve dealt with a lot of head injuries.”

Jalen Ramsey on his NFL position: “Corner”

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CHICAGO, Ill. — Jalen Ramsey doesn’t know what team will call his name during Thursday night’s NFL Draft. He does know exactly what position he wants to play at the next level.

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“Corner,” Ramsey replied with no hesitation when Around The NFL asked what position he hopes to anchor in the NFL.

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It’s the correct response, even if only from a monetary perspective. The franchise tag for corners in 2016 was nearly $14 million. It was $10.8 million for safeties.

Standing next to the wide-shouldered, 6-foot-1 cover man, Ramsey doesn’t look like a corner. He looks closer to a linebacker. Some believe the rookie will transition to safety while sliding to corner in certain coverages. Having the size to tackle along with quick hips needed to cover, Ramsey could be the perfect hybrid player becoming more common in today’s NFL.

Speaking Wednesday morning at an NFL Play 60 Clinic in Chicago, Ramsey insisted he wants to play on the outside, but will line up wherever asked.

“I will play anywhere a team wants me to play, just like I did in college it doesn’t matter to me. I want to play ball,” he admitted.

Ramsey has been rumored as high as the No. 1 pick, when his hometown team Tennessee Titans Jerseys owned the selection. The corner said he believes the Titans would have selected him at No. 1 if they held onto that selection. Now he is fine being taken at any pick.


“It doesn’t matter how high I go. It doesn’t matter if I go at three or 33 or wherever,” Ramsey said. “This has all been my dream…I’ll be happy regardless.”

NFL Media draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah said Tuesday that he’s hearing Ramsey being connected to the Cowboys at No. 4. That is a scenario the corner called “a dream situation, literally a dream come true” after rooting for the ‘Boys growing up.

Whether it’s in practice or a game, Ramsey called Dez Bryant Jerseys the receiver he most wants to cover.

“I just like his mindset, his competitiveness, people call it cocky, call it confident, you can call it arrogant, you can call it whatever you want,” Ramsey said of Bryant. “He’s one of the best receivers in the game and that’s always been the guy who I wanted to go up against, whether it’s in practice or the game.”

It’s that type of mentality Ramsey believe he owns.

“You can call me cocky, you can call me arrogant, but I know what I am,” he said. “I’m humble, I’m just confident in my abilities. I have no reason to not be confident. I play defensive back. You have to be confident playing defensive back. Period.”

Philadelphia Eagles lose starting offensive tackle to 10-game suspension

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It has been a strange offseason for the Philadelphia Eagles Jerseys Jerseys. Training camp doesn’t feel much different.

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The news took a dark turn on Tuesday when reports came out that starting right tackle Lane Johnson Jerseys, the fourth overall pick in the 2013 draft, will be suspended 10 games.

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Johnson now has been suspended twice, hence the extended leave. He was suspended for the four games of the 2014 for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. It’s not known if Johnson plans to appeal.

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View photosPhiladelphia Eagles Jerseys Jerseys tackle Lane Johnson Jerseys has been suspended again, this time for 10 games (Getty Images).More

When he has played, starting all 44 games he was eligible to play in, Johnson has been mostly excellent, even shifting over to left tackle for two games while Jason Peters Jerseys was hurt. Despite the previous suspension, the Eagles Jerseys even signed Johnson to a five-year extension worth up to $63 million, with $35.5 million in guarantees, back in January.


Clearly, this has to frustrate an Eagles Jerseys front office and coaching staff that’s trying to wipe away the bad vibes of a lost 2015 season and also having shed other dead money in the past several months. But based on the terms of the extension, the Eagles Jerseys might be able to keep from paying out a portion of that $35.5 million based on the suspension.

Johnson has put the team in a tough spot. If there’s a tiny silver lining it’s the there are only three division games in those first 10 games, but six of those contests would be on the road. If the suspension holds up, Johnson would be eligible to return Week 12 — a Monday night home game against the Green Bay Packers Jerseys Jerseys.

The Eagles Jerseys released their first depth chart of the summer on Monday, and Johnson’s backups were listed as Dennis Kelly Jerseys and Halapoulivaati Vaitai. Kelly, a fifth-round pick in 2012, replaced Johnson at right tackle when he shifted over last season and also has played guard. Of Kelly’s 15 starts in four seasons, nine have come at right tackle. Vaitai was a fifth-rounder this year, a two-time All Big 12 player out of TCU who played left and right tackle in college.

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Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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