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Heath Miller: Stopping football cold turkey was hard

SEATTLE, WA - NOVEMBER 29: Tight end Heath Miller #83 of the Pittsburgh Steelers runs with the ball as safety Kam Chancellor #31 of the Seattle Seahawks moves in for a tackle during a football game at CenturyLink Field on November 29, 2015 in Seattle, Washington. The Seahawks won the game 39-30. (Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)

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Longtime Steelers tight end Heath Miller retired this offseason, and for someone who loves the game as much as he does, that wasn’t an easy decision.

“It was a big decision because it was something I had done for as long as I can remember,” Miller said, via the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “It was high priority for me, and to stop cold turkey was hard. I probably won’t feel it until the season starts.”

So why did Miller call it quits? Mostly to spend more time with his family.

“It wasn’t just one thing that made me decide it was time to retire,” Miller said. “It was a number of things that told me that now was the time. I don’t know where I’ll be [when training camp starts], but I won’t be in Latrobe, at least not this year. It’s always a tough balance between football and family — or at least for me it was. Now, I’m certainly making up for lost time. Although my boys are going to miss being around the game. For me, it’s always been a big commitment. I really didn’t change, but as you get older. you have to put in more time to make sure your body is ready to go.”

Miller never had a formal retirement announcement and hasn’t previously spoken publicly about his decision.

“I didn’t want to make a big deal about it,” said Miller.

It’s a big deal to the Steelers, who will miss Miller both on and off the field.