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.''

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Urschel spends his spring getting straight A's at MIT

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Urschel spends his spring getting straight A's at MIT

If the NFL had an All-Academic team, Ravens offensive lineman John Urschel would be on it.

In February, Urschel began the Ph.D program in mathematics at MIT. How’s he doing so far? Here’s a hint. When it comes to grades, Urschel is only familiar with one letter in the alphabet.

“My first semester in school in nearly three years,” Urschel wroter on Twitter. “Four PhD classes at MIT. Four A’s. The streak continues!!!”

Entering his third season with the Ravens, Urschel has found a way to juggle his love for football with his love for mathematics. He posted an interesting article on The Players Tribune this week in which he described training with the football team at MIT this spring.

“I probably had about 50 or 60 pounds on the biggest guy on MIT’s O-line,” Urschel wrote. “But when we ran, they put me to shame. They could outsprint me.

“What I found is that the team at MIT is no joke. It is a football team – in some ways, more of a football team than any I’d ever seen. These guys love football. They are playing the game because they want to. No one is making them come to practice, no one is checking up on them. They know as well as anyone about head injuries; they know that football is dangerous; they know the feeling of exhaustion and pain. They still play. They don’t do it for money, and they don’t do it for status.

“We talk about dedication and passion in the pros, but the truth is, sometimes the game feels like a job. You start to think of the paycheck. You feel the grind. But training with the team at MIT, I started thinking about what had drawn me to football as a kid. It felt like a game again. I had thought I might have something to teach the team. I never imagined they’d have so much to teach me.”

That guy in the Dos Equis beer commercials might be the most interesting man in the world. But Urschel has built a strong resume as the most interesting player on the Ravens.

RELATED: NFL ANNOUNCES LOCATIONS FOR 2019, 2020 AND 2021 SUPER BOWLS

NFL announces locations for 2019, 2020 and 2021 Super Bowls

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NFL announces locations for 2019, 2020 and 2021 Super Bowls

The NFL has decided on the locations of the 2019, 2020 and 2021 Super Bowls. The vote took place at the NFL owners meetings in Charlotte on Tuesday. 

Atlanta will host Super Bowl LIII in 2019, while South Florida (Miami) will get the event in 2020 and Los Angeles will host in 2021. 

The cities chosen each included new or upgraded stadiums in their pitches to the league. 

Atlanta will be home to the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium, opening in 2017. 

Miami's stadium (Sun Life Stadium from 2010-2016) is undergoing a $400 million renovation that will include an open-air canopy to provide shade for 92 percent of seats, according to Sports Illustrated. Construction should be complete before the 2017 season. 

And Los Angeles will boast a new 300-acre, campus-style stadium housing the Rams and potentially a second team. The $2.6 billion project will be the most expensive sports arena in the world, reports CNN, and should be ready before the 2019 NFL season. 

AFC North: Bengals' Eifert expected to miss three months due to surgery

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AFC North: Bengals' Eifert expected to miss three months due to surgery

Bengals Pro Bowl tight end Tyler Eifert will undergo ankle surgery, according to multiple reports.

Estimates varied on when Eifert would return, but he was not expected to be back on the field until at least mid-August.

Eifert suffered his injury at the Pro Bowl, which he left wearing a walking boot.

His ankle has not responded to treatment as well as Eifert hoped, and he could not join his teammates for OTA’s this week.

A first-round pick in 2013 (21st overall), Eifert led all NFL tight ends with 13 touchdown catches last season, and had 52 catches overall for 615 yards. Still only 25 years old, Eifert has emerged as a major weapon for the Bengals, and they have already picked up his fifth-year option.

The priority for the Bengals is to have Eifert ready for Week 1 when they visit the Jets. Ryan Hewitt, Tyler Kroft, and C. J. Uzomah will see plenty of reps at tight end until Eifert returns.

RELATED: THREE REASONS WHY JOE FLACCO CAN RETURN TO THE TOP