THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) — Von Miller spent Monday in a sentimental daze after the Denver Broncos traded him. He went down into the memorabilia-packed basement of his Colorado home and tearfully contemplated his departure from the only NFL team he had ever known.
By the time Miller boarded a plane Tuesday for the West Coast, the pass-rushing star’s eyes were dry — and his vision of the future was increasingly clear.
“I went to sleep 4-4 and woke up 7-1,” Miller said with a grin.
Miller participated in his first workout with the Los Angeles Rams on Wednesday, the blue numerals on his bone-colored No. 40 jersey peeling off because of their hasty adhesion.
Miller is already acquainted with Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey from Pro Bowls and offseason gatherings. He feels his overall comfort level rising by the hour as he embraces the opportunity given to him when the Broncos shipped out the face of their franchise for two high draft picks.
The Rams already were a Super Bowl contender, and this former Super Bowl MVP is eager to make the trip with them.
“I’ve been wearing blue and orange forever, (so) everything just looks weird, but it feels extremely right,” Miller said. “Feels right to be here. Feels like this is the right thing for me. (No.) 40 looks weird, but it feels right. Being here with all these guys, it’s really a dream come true, man. (Denver) definitely did me right by sending me to such a legendary franchise with a legendary team.”
Miller and Donald are two of the greatest pass rushers of their generation, and they’ll team up for at least the rest of this season in a partnership with the potential to reconfigure the NFC race. While the Rams have taken statistical steps back after fielding the league’s best defense last season, sending Miller after quarterbacks alongside Donald and Leonard Floyd adds new dimensions to a unit that already leads the NFL with 25 sacks.
“I feel like it frees us all up,” Miller said. “They’ll try to figure out creative ways to triple-team and double-team, but it can’t possibly be that effective. We’ve got great coaches. We’ve got great guys playing on this team, and we’ll be able to figure it out. … You hear stories of the Fearsome Foursome, you hear stories of this legendary defense, and we want to recreate that. They’ve been playing great defense all year. I just want to add some of the things that I do best.”
Miller is likely to take it easy in practice this week after missing the Broncos’ game last weekend due to an ankle injury. Although he has “some lingering issues,” he intends to play Sunday night against AFC-leading Tennessee (6-2) at SoFi Stadium.
Miller still hasn’t seen the Rams’ palatial new home because he didn’t travel to the Broncos’ game against the Chargers last season while injured.
“I’ve heard stories on how incredible it is, and how the Super Bowl is going to be there this year,” Miller said. “Hopefully that will be us playing there.”
The rest of the Rams already felt the Super Bowl was a reachable goal for their current core, but Miller’s arrival underlined the urgency of this season. Miller will be an unrestricted free agent next spring, although the Rams have already spoken with his representation about the possibility of a longer stay in LA.
Matthew Stafford, the other major star who left his longtime NFL home for the Rams through a blockbuster trade this year, welcomed Miller to sunny Southern California.
“I’ve been a fan of Von Miller for a long time,” Stafford said. “He’s a big-time player in this league, and adding him to a defense that’s already got a bunch of playmakers has the possibility of being something real special. … We’ll do everything we can to pull him along as quickly as we possibly can, and I know once he’s out there, he’s going to be big value for us.”
NOTES: Stafford was among several Rams who didn’t participate in a short, light practice Wednesday. The quarterback has a stiff back, but he says he’ll play Sunday. … WR Robert Woods sat out with a foot injury, and WR Cooper Kupp sat out to rest. Coach Sean McVay expects both to play. … LT Andrew Whitworth also rested, and his availability isn’t certain after missing last week’s game.
More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL