Veteran tight end Heath Miller has decided to retire, the Steelers announced today in a press release. Miller, a two-time Pro Bowler, will call it a career after spending 11 seasons in the NFL, all in Pittsburgh.
Miller, 33, begain his career back in 2005, when the Steelers selected him with the 30th overall pick in the draft. The Virginia product immediately became a starter, and appeared in 168 regular-season games (167 starts), plus another 15 playoff contests, for the franchise over the next 11 years.
Miller’s best years came in 2009, when he caught a career-high 76 passes, and in 2012, when he racked up 816 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. However, he remained productive for the Steelers until his final season, totaling 60 receptions, 535 yards, and two touchdowns in 2015. No tight end in franchise history accumulated more total catches (592), receiving yards (6,569), or receiving touchdowns (45) than Miller.
With Miller set to move to the Steelers’ reserve/retired list, the team will no longer be on the hook for his $4MM base salary for 2016, which would have been the final year of his current contract. That frees up some cap space for Pittsburgh, but the club will have to find a way to replace the veteran’s production.
Matt Spaeth and Jesse James also saw playing time at tight end for the Steelers in 2015, and both players remain under contract going forward, but they combined for just 10 receptions between them. While the duo will likely get a chance to compete for increased snaps in 2016, the Steelers figure to address the tight end position in the draft and/or free agency.
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