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Steelers TE Miller respected for work ethic

Chaz Palla | Tribune Review - Steelers tight end Heath Miller during OTAs on the South Side May 2012.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em> Chaz Palla | Tribune Review</em></div>Steelers tight end Heath Miller during OTAs on the South Side May 2012.
Chaz Palla | Tribune Review - Steelers tight end Heath Miller during OTAs on the South Side May 2012.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em> Chaz Palla | Tribune Review</em></div>Steelers tight end Heath Miller during OTAs on the South Side May 2012.
Chaz Palla | Tribune Review - Steelers tight end Heath Miller during OTAs on the South Side May 2012.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em> Chaz Palla | Tribune Review</em></div>Steelers tight end Heath Miller during OTAs on the South Side May 2012.
Chaz Palla | Tribune Review - Steelers tight end Heath Miller during OTAs on the South Side May 2012.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em> Chaz Palla | Tribune Review</em></div>Steelers tight end Heath Miller during OTAs on the South Side May 2012.

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Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By Scott Brown
Wednesday, May 30, 2012, 7:08 p.m.
 

Willie Colon was asked about who will handle the the leadership role on what is shaping up to be a very young offensive line.

Colon's answer revealed as much about Heath Miller as it did his intentions to show the way to some of the Steelers' young linemen.

“I try to take the Heath Miller approach and just flat out be the guy on tape that you see and say, ‘Hey, that's how you work,' ” said Colon, the seventh-year veteran who has moved from right tackle to left guard. “Every time I've looked at one guy who's set the tempo, who's just played (all out) besides Hines (Ward), it's Heath. He blocks his tail off, he runs hard, he gets after guys, and there's never any question about it. It's just expected of him.”

It is a good thing others in the Steelers' organization are so willing to talk about Miller since it is one of the few things he is unable or unwilling to do.

One of the most underrated and understated tight ends in the NFL could thrive in Todd Haley's offense though it is too early to tell what role Miller will play in it.

Haley's offense in two-plus years in Kansas City thrived in 2010 due in part to the emergence of rookie tight end Tony Moeacki, who caught 47 passes for 556 yards in helping the surprising Chiefs to an AFC West title. And in Miller, Haley has a tight end that is as complete as any in the game.

“If he was somewhere else that was pass happy like a Dallas Clark situation or like Tom Brady, that type of offense, he'd be a Pro Bowler every year,” Steelers inside linebacker Larry Foote said. “A lot of these guys you see putting up these numbers, they stink at blocking, but Heath can do both.”

Miller, an eight-year veteran, is fourth on the team's all-time receptions list with 337 catches. He will pass Louis Lipps and move into third place in 2012 barring a major injury.

“We've always had a lot of good players on offense here, and I think the more we spread the ball around and get everyone involved, the more difficult, in my mind, we would be to defend,” Miller said. “I don't sit around and crave catching 100 balls. I just want to win and win Super Bowls.”

It is that kind of attitude that has endeared Miller to so many of his teammates, especially Colon.

“Just a silent killer man,” Colon said. “He never complains. When things get tough he gets tougher. He's just the ultimate guy, and I look up to him so much. If there's anyone I want to model myself after, it's Heath.”

Scott Brown is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at sbrown@tribweb.com

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