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Miller sports new nickname, new shoes

Miller sports new nickname, new shoes

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) Von Miller has a new nickname and a new shoe just in time for the playoffs.

The Texas A&M alum, who topped his superb Rookie of the Year season with a team-record 18 1/2 sacks in his second year with the Denver Broncos, wanted to fly to Arlington, Texas, to watch his Aggies play in the Cotton Bowl last week.

Trouble is, coach John Fox scheduled a team lift last Saturday to keep players from jetting off for the weekend, although he was more concerned about flights out West to Las Vegas than to DFW.

So, Miller had to watch on TV as Johnny Manziel, the exciting dual-threat quarterback known as ``Johnny Football'' and the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy, guided the Aggies past Oklahoma 41-13 Friday night.

The next morning, Fox dubbed his elite pass-rusher ``Vonny Football.''

Miller likes the new nickname and joked he'll call his new custom-made Adidas shoe the same thing.

Miller tested his new shoe, a high-top version of the five-star cleats he used to wear, at practice this week and said he was eager to see how they help him rush Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco on Saturday when the Broncos (13-3) host Baltimore (11-6) in the AFC divisional playoffs.

The all-white cleats are pretty narrow.

``Deer have narrow feet, too,'' Miller said. ``You can't have big, wide feet and run fast.''

He said he wouldn't mind outfitting the Aggies in his new shoes next season.

``I'm hoping it will be in high schools all across America, but `Von Miller' doesn't sound as good as d. Rose,'' Miller said of Derrick Rose's Adidas line of basketball shoes.

Maybe something along the lines of his Twitter handle, (at)millerlite40, suggested Miller.

``Miller Lite, that sounds pretty good,'' he said.

It's taken.

``Von Lite,'' then, Miller retorted.

Why not go with Vonny Football?

``Vonny Football!'' Miller repeated. ``Sounds pretty good.''

It's a nickname that's already stuck, courtesy of Fox.

``I was trying to go to the game. I was trying every way, I tried to do whatever I could to make this game on Friday, but we had a workout on Saturday. And I talked to Coach Fox about it, I told him how much I wanted to be there, and he knew how much I wanted to be there and he knew how much the game meant to me,'' Miller said.

Not even a two-time Pro Bowler got out of the Saturday morning lift, however, and Miller said chartering his own plane to make it back in time was out of the question.

``I'm not on Champ Bailey/Peyton Manning status yet,'' Miller said. ``I should have asked them could they get me a hookup on their plane.''

While Miller was basking in the afterglow of his Aggies' big win the next morning, Fox told him, ``You know what? I'm going to call you `Vonny Football' instead of Johnny Football,''' Miller recounted. ``So, I just ran with it.''

Miller wasn't too shy to remind his teammates and coaches that he had predicted a big win for Texas A&M - by at least three TDs.

``I wasn't surprised at all. I told everybody, I said it several times, and it came true. Just like I said we were going to beat Alabama,'' Miller said. ``And next year we're going to win the national championship. I'm saying it now: we're going to win the national championship, Johnny Football's going to win the Heisman again, and everything's going to be great. ``

Notes: CB Tracy Porter (concussion) is the only player who didn't practice Wednesday. Fox revealed the nature of the injury that sidelined LT Ryan Clady last week: a shoulder ailment. Clady, however, was a full participant in the workout along with S Jim Leonhard (thigh), KR Trindon Holliday (ankle), RG Chris Kuper (ankle), S Mike Adams (knee), WR Matthew Willis (knee) and RT Orlando Franklin (knee). ... OC Mike McCoy didn't want to talk about his round of interviews for head coaching vacancies with the Cardinals, Eagles and Bears last weekend. He said he wasn't concerned that he'd be passed up for a job while the Broncos continue their playoff run, either. ``I've got the greatest job here,'' McCoy said. ``I could stay here a long time and not worry about another job.'' ... CB Champ Bailey on Ravens LB Ray Lewis' pending retirement: ``I know he's going to miss the game, but I think the game will miss him more.''

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Follow AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Stapleton on Twitter:http://twitter.com/arniestapleton

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The Ravens appear to have their entire coaching staff returning for the 2020 season

The Ravens appear to have their entire coaching staff returning for the 2020 season

While the Ravens roster will likely remain mostly together for the 2020 regular season, it appears the coaching staff will stay entirely intact, too. 

After both coordinators, Greg Roman and Don “Wink” Martindale, had interviews with the Browns and Giants, respectively, those jobs were filled by Kevin Stefanski and Joe Judge. 

And more recently, quarterbacks coach James Urban and tight ends coach Bobby Engram were requested for interviews by the Eagles. Harbaugh said both Engram and Urban pulled out of the running and weren’t interested.

“It looks like our staff is going to stay together,” coach John Harbaugh said. “I can tell you that. I’m not saying anything couldn’t happen; there are always things brewing for a certain period of time.”

The Ravens have every offensive starter from the divisional playoff game under contract for next season, and now appear to have the offensive coordinator and all of the position coaches back on-board for another run too. The Ravens set a franchise record with 531 points, led by Lamar Jackson.

Things are still fluid, as a job opportunity for anyone on the staff can pop up out of the blue. But for now, the Ravens look like they’ll run the entire operation back for another go at a Super Bowl.

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John Harbaugh defends Lamar Jackson's playoff performance

John Harbaugh defends Lamar Jackson's playoff performance

Coach John Harbaugh, just six days after his team’s disappointing 28-12 loss to the Titans in the AFC playoffs, has already had to defend his quarterback.

Faced with some criticism after Jackson finished 31-of-59 passing, and three total turnovers, Harbaugh mentioned how far Jackson has come in the last year — which also ended in an early playoff loss at home.

“It’s really interesting to look at Lamar Jackson, because look at the progress he made in the last year,” Harbaugh said Friday. “Because the same question, I think you might have asked it last year, how is he going to get better going forward? And he did a good job, right? He’s 23 years old. He’s younger than Joe Burrow. So, he has a pretty good head start right now.”

Jackson is now 0-2 in the playoffs with a 19-3 regular season record. 



He’s likely the MVP this season after he passed for more than 3,000 yards and rushed for 1,000 yards, setting the single-season rushing record for a quarterback along the way. He led the NFL in passing touchdowns and carried the most prolific offense in the league to a league-best 14-2. 

Harbaugh isn’t worried that his quarterback, who is just 23-years-old, hasn’t found his playoff success yet.

“The Manning brothers combined to, they had five losses in their first five playoff games before they won one,” Harbaugh explained. (Joe) Montana, (Steve) Young and (Brett) Favre didn’t start a playoff game until their third season, (Drew) Brees and (Troy) Aikman, until their fourth season, and (Aaron) Rodgers until his fifth season.”

After the season ended, Harbaugh added that Jackson went to his office to discuss the offseason and what he needed to do to improve. 

While Harbaugh and the offensive coaching staff had a plan for Jackson to improve, Jackson “nailed” each and every single critique that the coaches had laid out for him.

“I’m really confident in Lamar and his understanding the things he needs to do to get better, and that he’s going to work really hard to keep building himself up as a player,” Harbaugh said.

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