Armen Keteyian of 60 Minutes Sports spoke with The Afternoon Drive today about his Tuesday night Showtime report, "Summer of Von."
In case you missed it, this interview with Les Shapiro and Eric Goodman will give you some of the unique insight Keteyian got this summer as he followed Miller around.
"I had so much fun being around Von," Keteyian said about Miller’s "wild ride" in the offseason, which included time at Miller’s chicken farm. "I don’t think a 60 Minutes sports piece has ever opened with a rooster. And you’ll love this, his name is Peyton."
And the best part, Keteyian explained, is that the rooster has a very "sort of Peyton cock-of-the-walk thing about him. That’s why Von named him [Peyton.]"
But Keteyian pointed otu that aside from the "goofy Von" Broncos fans get a taste of off the field, Miller is a very intellectual, complex human being.
"He’s kind of a nerd, which is enjoyable from my perspective," Keteyian noted. "Football is football is football. We’re all looking for something that’s a little different with more depth and texture as a person. He’s very curious intellectually. …That was something I was so appreciative of that there are multiple sides to Von."
In his time with Miller, Keteyian was very close to the contract scene as it went down over the summer, and the 60 Minutes reporter spoke to the linebacker extensively about the process.
"I got the feeling Von was a little dismayed at the initial tenor of the negotiations and certainly the number originally put on the table - 39.8," Keteyian said, adding that Miller was certainly "angry and upset" about the way he was being treated. "He felt like his commitment to team and performance on the field wasn’t squaring up with the numbers."
But if there was anything that showed Miller’s commitment to the Broncos it was his desire to talk man-to-man with John Elway, rather than speaking through agents.
"Von took matters into own hands, reached out to John Elway and they had a conversation which changed the tenor of the negotiations and the direction I think they were headed," Keteyian said, "which resulted in a record-breaking contract."
Although Keteyian believes Miller absolutely "cut Elway out of the White House photo" that DeMarcus Ware had originally posted during the team’s visit to see Barack Obama, the reporter saw it more as Miller drawing a distinct line between players and management, not a personal dig at Elway.
"No doubt he did it on purpose and when I asked him about it, he said, ‘well, I was putting my teammates in the photo,’" Keteyian recalled. "There was a very clear line in Von’s mind and John was outside that line. [Miller] is very protective of his teammates and his stature in the locker room."
But Keteyian absolutely believes there are no hard feelings between Miller and the Broncos because whatever anger was present at the time was resolved in the one-on-one conversation.
"Von wanted to make it into more a human conversation - less about the money and more about the kind of player he is," Keteyian said, adding that he asked Elway about this. "Because when you’re give somebody $70 million, you’re not just banking on the athlete, you’re banking on the person and the character of that person."
This is perhaps the area Keteyian believes Miller has shown the most growth since entering the NFL.
"One thing I saw and felt...Von not only wanted to be a great player, he’s in the mold of the Peytons and the Bradys and the Ray Lewises and the Ed Reeds, even the Elways," Keteyian said. "He wants to be the best of the best. And I think he’s willing to make that commitment."
A lot of that commitment is easily seen in how Miller has changed the way he takes care of his body – with better nutrition and exercise habits. But mostly it is reflected in Miller’s obvious commitment to the team and to greatness.
"He understands his role now with the Broncos and what those dollars mean and what his performance in the Super Bowl meant," Keteyian said. "You don’t often get that – especially at 27."
Keteyian noted that it’s usually players in their 30s near the end of their career who "start to get that this is a game that reaches far beyond their personal goals."
"I think Von is really growing in to that kind of person and that kind of character," Keteyian said. "And that bodes well for the team. He’s a pretty special guy. A lot of fun to be around."
No debate there.
The only question now is when do I get to follow Von Miller around for a summer and write about it?
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