Anthony Miller showed flashes of a breakout receiver during his rookie season with the Bears, and he was far from full strength.
He dislocated his shoulder against the Arizona Cardinals in Week 3, the first of many times his shoulder came out of its socket.
“Every time I tried to stiff arm, it would come out, or if I ran kind of crazy, it would come out,” Miller told the Chicago Tribune. “Really I was playing games with like one arm, making it happen. This year I’ve got two, so watch out.”
Miller had surgery to fix the issue back in January, and he should be back to full strength well in time for his sophomore season.
He set expectations high for his rookie year, and he’s putting them higher for his second act.
“Last year, you guys said, ‘Could I get six touchdowns?’ And I was telling you it was too low, and I got seven,” Miller said. “So I’m telling you 12 this time. Hopefully I can get over that.”
Only four receivers in Bears history have scored 12 or more touchdowns in a season. Before Brandon Marshall in 2013, the last one was Curtis Conway in 1995.
Anthony Miller isn’t backing down from the challenge.
PHOENIX — The Bears will indeed open their 100th season — and the NFL’s 100th season — at home against the Green Bay Packers, the league announced Monday at its annual meeting at the Arizona Biltmore. NBC will televise the game, which will be played Sept. 5.
The curtain-lifting Thursday night Bears-Packers game had been rumored for months, with the NFL opting to highlight a historic rivalry over giving the slot to the reigning Super Bowl champions, as has traditionally been the case.
"As an organization, we are thrilled to be kicking off the 100th season of football in the NFL,” Bears chairman George McCaskey said. “As a charter franchise, we cannot think of a better way to begin our centennial season by hosting our longtime rival in prime time at Soldier Field.”
NFL Media COO Hans Schroeder said the league hoped to make the kickoff of the league’s 100th season something “unique and special,” and that the decision regarding the Bears-Packers game was made before the New England Patriots won their sixth Super Bowl in the last two decades (to put it another way: The league said Patriots fatigue was not a factor in bumping the defending champions off Thursday night).
Scheoder said settling on having Bears-Packers at Soldier Field was “a great way collectively to start the season.”
The Bears-Packers rivalry began to write an interesting chapter this month, when Adrian Amos signed a four-year deal with Green Bay and Ryan Pace moving to replace him with ex-Packer Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. The pseudo-swap of safeties (Clinton-Dix was traded to Washington last season) sparked some intense debates between Packers and Bears fans on social media that surely will be re-ignited in this Thursday night opener. Amos, for his part, posted a classy goodbye to Chicago after signing with the Packers.
The Bears snapped a seven-game home losing streak to the Packers last December with a 24-17 win that sealed their first NFC North title since 2010.
Late on Tuesday evening, ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter reported that free agent running back Le’Veon Bell would sign with the New York Jets, ending any more speculation of the Bears going after the All-Pro RB.
With the big free agency splash, the Jets now have a dangerous offensive force to pair with young quarterback Sam Darnold. Bell’s yearly salary of $13.25 million places him second among NFL RBs behind Los Angeles Rams RB Todd Gurley.
Bell sat out the whole 2018 season after he received the franchise tag and couldn’t reach a contract agreement with the Steelers. In his last season--2017--he gained 1,946 yards from scrimmage and scored 11 total touchdowns (9 rushing and 2 receiving).
In 2018 the Jets had an ineffective offense, finishing 23rd in total points and 29th in total yards. New York of course hopes that Bell will boost their backfield production, after finishing 26th in rushing last season led by Isaiah Crowell and Bilal Powell.
The Jets have improved their roster quite a bit of this season with their plethora of big-name free agent moves. But the Bears--who have been in rumors but seemingly never interested in Bell--have followed a different philosophy. The Bears--coming off their 1st place finish in the NFC North-- have cleared some cap space and focused on low-risk deals to improve their young and steadily improving roster.
So though big names like Bell and Antonio Brown are off the market, look for the Bears to make some intriguing moves as NFL free agency officially begins on March 13 at 4 pm ET.
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