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Steelers' Miller also looking for new deal

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Count tight end Heath Miller among the Steelers who want to play their entire NFL career in Pittsburgh.

With Miller, though, his desire to finish what he started with the Steelers takes on more urgency, as he approaches his final season under contract with the team that selected him in the first round of the 2005 draft.

Miller is one of several Steelers who could be entering next season wondering when — or if — they will re-sign before becoming free agents.

"Obviously, I'd love to be a Steeler, and I'd love to spend my whole career here. But at the same time, I realize this is a business. You don't really know what's going to happen," Miller said Tuesday following the Steelers' final Organized Team Activity (OTA) of the week.

Miller is represented by Tom Condon, who is considered one of the top player agents and has a reputation for delivering big contracts for his clients.

The Steelers recently signed Pro Bowl linebacker James Harrison to a six-year, $51.175-million contract. Like Miller, Harrison also was entering the final year of his deal.

Miller, 26, said he isn't aware of any Condon discussions with the Steelers on a new contract.

"There's really no point in focusing on it, because when it comes down to it, none of us really has control over what's going to happen," Miller said. "I'm just focused on becoming a better player and getting ready for the upcoming season."

Director of football operations Kevin Colbert said Monday the Steelers want to re-sign some of their players who will be entering their final year before the start of next season. However, Colbert also said the team is struggling to create room under the salary cap, as evidenced by the decision to release running back Gary Russell in order to sign quarterback Charlie Batch for the start of OTAs.

Signing Miller, who established a career-high with 48 receptions in 2008, to a long-term contract is the best option for both sides. The Steelers also could designate Miller the franchise player after next season while working on a new deal.

"We'll see what happens," Miller said. "I'll keep my fingers crossed, and we'll see what happens."

Miller noted the large turnout of players attending the voluntary workouts as a sign the Steelers are committed to defending their Super Bowl title.

"Every year, you set out to win the Super Bowl, and there's no better feeling when you accomplish that," he said. "The thing you cherish is the journey along the way and the memories you accumulate.

"It feels good to get back in the swing of things, get your mind on the playbook and see some of the guys you haven't seen in a while," Miller said. "I think it speaks to the character of our team. We've got a lot of guys who like to work, who enjoy being around each other. I'm not sure how much that will help in the fall, but it definitely can't hurt."

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