Quick Links

Miller sports new nickname, new shoes

Miller sports new nickname, new shoes

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) Von Miller has a new nickname and a new shoe just in time for the playoffs.

The Texas A&M alum, who topped his superb Rookie of the Year season with a team-record 18 1/2 sacks in his second year with the Denver Broncos, wanted to fly to Arlington, Texas, to watch his Aggies play in the Cotton Bowl last week.

Trouble is, coach John Fox scheduled a team lift last Saturday to keep players from jetting off for the weekend, although he was more concerned about flights out West to Las Vegas than to DFW.

So, Miller had to watch on TV as Johnny Manziel, the exciting dual-threat quarterback known as ``Johnny Football'' and the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy, guided the Aggies past Oklahoma 41-13 Friday night.

The next morning, Fox dubbed his elite pass-rusher ``Vonny Football.''

Miller likes the new nickname and joked he'll call his new custom-made Adidas shoe the same thing.

Miller tested his new shoe, a high-top version of the five-star cleats he used to wear, at practice this week and said he was eager to see how they help him rush Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco on Saturday when the Broncos (13-3) host Baltimore (11-6) in the AFC divisional playoffs.

The all-white cleats are pretty narrow.

``Deer have narrow feet, too,'' Miller said. ``You can't have big, wide feet and run fast.''

He said he wouldn't mind outfitting the Aggies in his new shoes next season.

``I'm hoping it will be in high schools all across America, but `Von Miller' doesn't sound as good as d. Rose,'' Miller said of Derrick Rose's Adidas line of basketball shoes.

Maybe something along the lines of his Twitter handle, (at)millerlite40, suggested Miller.

``Miller Lite, that sounds pretty good,'' he said.

It's taken.

``Von Lite,'' then, Miller retorted.

Why not go with Vonny Football?

``Vonny Football!'' Miller repeated. ``Sounds pretty good.''

It's a nickname that's already stuck, courtesy of Fox.

``I was trying to go to the game. I was trying every way, I tried to do whatever I could to make this game on Friday, but we had a workout on Saturday. And I talked to Coach Fox about it, I told him how much I wanted to be there, and he knew how much I wanted to be there and he knew how much the game meant to me,'' Miller said.

Not even a two-time Pro Bowler got out of the Saturday morning lift, however, and Miller said chartering his own plane to make it back in time was out of the question.

``I'm not on Champ Bailey/Peyton Manning status yet,'' Miller said. ``I should have asked them could they get me a hookup on their plane.''

While Miller was basking in the afterglow of his Aggies' big win the next morning, Fox told him, ``You know what? I'm going to call you `Vonny Football' instead of Johnny Football,''' Miller recounted. ``So, I just ran with it.''

Miller wasn't too shy to remind his teammates and coaches that he had predicted a big win for Texas A&M - by at least three TDs.

``I wasn't surprised at all. I told everybody, I said it several times, and it came true. Just like I said we were going to beat Alabama,'' Miller said. ``And next year we're going to win the national championship. I'm saying it now: we're going to win the national championship, Johnny Football's going to win the Heisman again, and everything's going to be great. ``

Notes: CB Tracy Porter (concussion) is the only player who didn't practice Wednesday. Fox revealed the nature of the injury that sidelined LT Ryan Clady last week: a shoulder ailment. Clady, however, was a full participant in the workout along with S Jim Leonhard (thigh), KR Trindon Holliday (ankle), RG Chris Kuper (ankle), S Mike Adams (knee), WR Matthew Willis (knee) and RT Orlando Franklin (knee). ... OC Mike McCoy didn't want to talk about his round of interviews for head coaching vacancies with the Cardinals, Eagles and Bears last weekend. He said he wasn't concerned that he'd be passed up for a job while the Broncos continue their playoff run, either. ``I've got the greatest job here,'' McCoy said. ``I could stay here a long time and not worry about another job.'' ... CB Champ Bailey on Ravens LB Ray Lewis' pending retirement: ``I know he's going to miss the game, but I think the game will miss him more.''

---

Online:http://pro32.ap.org/poll andhttp://twitter.com/AP-NFL

---

Follow AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Stapleton on Twitter:http://twitter.com/arniestapleton

Quick Links

Ravens tight end suspended a year or more for violating substance abuse policy

Ravens tight end suspended a year or more for violating substance abuse policy

The NFL announced today that tight end Darren Waller of the Baltimore Ravens would be suspended for a year or longer for his second violation of the substance abuse policy.

Waller was a 2015 sixth-round pick out of Georgia Tech who served a four-game suspension to start the 2016 season for a substance abuse violation. After returning from his suspension last year, he posted 10 catches for 85 yards and two touchdowns in a limited role.

After his 2016 violation, he was quoted as saying [via Ravens.com]:

“There were other personal issues, and [marijuana] was the one thing I always turned to,” Waller said. “It was just about finding more positive outlets for me to do, like talking to people about it and things like that. I’m definitely at a better place with that now.”

Unfortunately for the Ravens, he will miss the 2017 season and potentially longer after the latest violation. It leaves the Ravens down two tight ends from last year after Dennis Pitta was released earlier this month after re-injuring his hip.

MORE RAVENS: Zach Orr considering coming out of retirement

Quick Links

Former Raven Zach Orr considering NFL comeback after postive health prognosis

Former Raven Zach Orr considering NFL comeback after postive health prognosis

In January of 2017, former Ravens linebacker Zach Orr took the podium at the team's training facility alongside head coach John Harbaugh, GM Ozzie Newsome and defensive coordinator Dean Pees, to announce he would be retiring from football at the age of 24.

Why? Orr suffered a shoulder injury during their week 16 game against longtime rivals, the Pittsburgh Steelers, which shed light into a condition he's had since birth.

He had a routine MRI, but the Ravens training staff suggested a full body CAT scan as well. The CAT scan reveled Orr had a congenital back/spine condition where one of the upper vertebra isn't totally formed causing there to be an opening. Less than 1 percent of people are born with such a condition and he wasn't aware of it until he suffered this injury.

Doctors told Orr he was at risk of paralysis or even death if he played with such a condition. He also would have never been able to pass an NFL physical, ultimately forcing him to retire.

During his press conference, Orr said this,

"If there's some miracle way where I can play the game, I promise I'd be the first one to grab my cleats again, start back training and try to find a way to get back out there," Orr said.

Well, fast forward to today and it seems that miracle may have happened.

NFL Network reporter Mike Garafolo told Good Morning Football that after getting a second opinion from doctors, and receiving positive news, Orr is considering a return to the NFL.

"I had my mind made up. I was like man, the doctors told me I was done. This is a serious issue. So I'm going to leave it alone. But I just kept hearing that from multiple people and some were telling me to just go check out and seek out some more opinions and things like that and come to find out my condition, it is rare – .01 percent of the people have what I have – but there's no actual evidence or facts that I'm at a higher risk than any other player. And it's actually been documented that a college player who had the exact same thing that I have that returned to play with no problems."

The doctors' real concerns would be if someone with Orr's spinal condition played with a herniated disk. He did suffer from herniated disks last season, but that injury has since diminished. 

MORE RAVENS: 2017 PRESEASON SCHEDULE

If Orr does decide to get back into the NFL, getting signed could be pretty easy. 

When he announced his retirement, he never filed for retirement papers and the Ravens never placed him on their reserve/retired list because they never thought he would play again.

Because of this, Orr is considered an unrestricted free agent and can sign with a team right away. 

Orr had his best season in 2016, where he lead the Ravens in tackles with 133. It's been reported that eight teams have reached out to the linebacker since his announcement and that he will be meeting with the Lions on Thursday.