Zach Miller was able to play in 15 games last season, starting a career-best 14 and earning himself a new two-year contract with the Bears, who were willing to gamble on a player who’d started exactly five games since 2009 because of myriad injuries.
Part of the reason is invariably luck, as it is with so many injuries. But a major component lay in changes in staff and practices implemented along with the arrival of Ryan Pace as general manager.
What those changes are and what the Bears are doing consist of ... Miller ain’t sayin’.
“I can’t share all the secrets,” MIller said, laughing. “From the training staff to the strength and conditioning, nutrition, we have recovery rooms, different types of things that they’re doing in the training room are cutting edge.
“There are a number of things they’ve done for us that’s different. We’ve had sleep things, different stuff that they’re trying to give us an edge for that I think really helped my career.”
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The Bears hope that career continues after Miller managed a breakout season that included 34 receptions, five touchdowns over the Bears’ final eight games, and an 87-yard TD against the St. Louis Rams that was the seventh-longest reception in franchise history.
Miller signed initially a reserve/future contract with the Bears at the end of 2013 but spend 2014 on injured reserve. He signed a one-year extension last February that got him in the door to have his breakout season.
That and the erratic circumstances surrounding Martellus Bennett, now the subject of trade talks that make Bennett’s 2016 outlook cloudy at best.
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And if Miller has any clue to Bennett’s mindset or plans, he’s not revealing that secret, either.
“To be quite honest, it’s not something I was really focused on,” Miller said. “It’s just something that will play out how it plays out.
“There’s business sides to the NFL, we all know that. I just control what I can control and thank God that we were able to get back here. This is exactly where my wife and I wanted to be, to raise our family here. We feel at home. The positive thing that came out of this is it’s just a blessing for my family.”