From the beginning until the end, Von Miller delivered as a Bronco

Nov 3, 2021, 6:17 AM | Updated: 2:59 pm
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Farewell to Von Miller! Right off the bat, let me say, I’m happy for him. When players get to this stage in their career, they should be in a place where they can win. Miller has made his money. His Broncos legacy is secure. Now, let him go to a place where he has a chance to win another ring.

This is not a malcontent forcing his way out of Denver. I believe Von would’ve loved to play his entire career with the Broncos. This deal just makes too much sense. Miller wasn’t going to be here next year. Better for George Paton to get what he could for Von, and two second-day picks is a nice return for a rebuilding team like the Broncos.

What a roller coaster ride its been with Von this last decade. John Elway’s first draft pick ended up being his best ever. No one else came close.

Elway said he believed the Broncos were getting a once-in-a-decade, generational-type player and he was right. But, it wasn’t always smooth sailing.

After his third year when he was hurt and suspended for marijuana use (yes those days existed not that long ago), Broncos Country was kind of over Von. I remember doing solo shows and taking calls and texts from fans who wanted Von traded and were willing to get about 60 cents on the dollar just to get him out of here.

Ah, but then 2015 happened. Well, first, Peyton Manning and Demarcus Ware happened. Those two pillars of leadership came aboard and Von took to their guidance like a student thirsty for knowledge. Couple that with a defense that could do no wrong and suddenly you had an all-time unit that was cocky, flamboyant and explosive. Terrifyingly explosive.

Don’t believe me? Ask Tom Brady. Never, and I mean never, has he ever been as hounded and beat up and intimidated like he was that day at Mile High for the AFC Championship Game.

Von was the best player on one of the best defenses of all-time on a Super Bowl winning team. The argument ends right there. He is the greatest defensive player in Broncos history.

That was the crowning moment. Unfortunately, it didn’t last long.

One of my biggest peeves covering the Broncos all these years was how little the younger Broncos veterans failed to take the leadership baton from Manning and Ware (and Aqib Talib and T.J. Ward to name a couple more). Being around that, I would’ve thought guys like Von would’ve learned and run with the lessons they saw firsthand. That they didn’t remains a mystery and disappointment to me.

An opportunity to continue a culture was squandered. Von wasn’t that kind of leader. His form of leadership was more about being the fun-loving teammate that everyone gravitated to. Not that there’s anything inherently wrong with that, but it wasn’t the kind of leadership the Broncos needed post-Manning/Ware.

Then, there was the failure of John Elway to recognize what the Broncos were becoming. They were entering a transitional phase (to be kind) or even a rebuilding phase (to be honest) and Von’s value was never going to be higher than it was then. But Elway, being the competitor he is, and also loyal to Von as his first pick, convinced himself the Broncos were still close to being able to win. That was mistake. Trading Von and getting a package that could’ve included two No. 1 picks plus more would’ve given the Broncos the necessary kickstart to rebuilding. Instead, well, we all know what has happened since then.

The reality of the Broncos’ current situation is why Paton had to make this deal. It stinks. It would’ve been awesome to see Von finish his career here. I believe Broncos fans who are upset with the trade are mostly upset with the circumstances that made this trade necessary in the first place. It shouldn’t have come to this.

However, this pain, this sting will go away. Von will come back. Who knows? Maybe he’ll re-sign here as he hinted in his “farewell” video. At the least, he’ll retire a Bronco and go into the Ring of Fame and get his bust out in front of the stadium and get to wear one of those snazzy orange jackets.

If those second- and third-round picks end up being “hits” and the Broncos return to glory soon? Then even Von’s departure will end up being part of his Broncos’ legacy and legend.

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From the beginning until the end, Von Miller delivered as a Bronco