Von Miller told The Washington Post that having the coronavirus did make him “honestly nervous.”
The 31-year-old edge rusher tested positive for Covid-19 last month - and re-tested negative just over a week ago - and that has spurred a bit of a change of heart from No. 58 on the seriousness of this virus.
“To be honest, whenever this virus started, I was trying to stay out the way. I was trying to stay home, stay out the way and wait this thing out,” he told The Post.
After taking 17 days off to fight the novel coronavirus effects - which were compounded by having asthma - Miller admitted that fear and toll on his lungs is real.
“Not being able to breathe. I got asthma, but it was past the asthma attack — like my lungs were constricting,” he added. “That was the most frightening part. Just going to sleep knowing that my oxygen level could drop and I could wake up and have to go to the hospital. ...I wouldn’t say that I thought I was going to die or anything like that, but it did cross my mind a little bit.”
Even now, Miller says his lungs are fighting a battle as he gets back to working out.
“Taking 17 days off and then trying to get back into it, I really feel it. I still feel my lungs trying to get back in shape,” he said, noting the added difficulty with asthma. “It’s just all the wear and tear that it puts on your lungs.”
Because of his experience - and knowing that he had every type of care available to him - Miller has started a new effort through his Von’s Vision foundation to help kids in Colorado and Texas, “Von Sacks Covid.”
The idea is to provide 580,000 meals to kids in need who normally rely on school for many of their daily meals.
Beyond helping kids, Miller is also trying to convince friends, teammates and anyone he sees to take this seriously - and he admitted to The Post that that was a battle too.
“They don’t even think it’s real. That’s the craziest part. I told them to take it serious. Take all of this serious. Take social distancing serious,” he said, adding that he saw two people take off their masks before even going into a Chipotle. “I was like, ‘Hey!’ They was all excited, but I was like: ‘I had the coronavirus; I saw y’all take your masks off early. Y’all should wear y’all masks all the way to the car.’ Their smiles kind of changed.”
If Miller were NFL Commissioner, he has some thoughts about how the league should consider the season, beginning with watching how it goes in Europe when they open up soccer.
And testing. So much more testing.
“That’s what we have to do. Every day we need to test all the players. It’s got to be part of the routine,” he said, explaining how easy it would be for one player to pass it on to another in the game of football.
Miller also considers having about one-fifth of a stadium’s crowd capacity in attendance for a game as a possible compromise for having fans but providing safe distance.
“And everybody’s got to stay masked up. I want to be safe. I want to make sure I can still deliver football to the fans, but I want to do it as safe as possible,” he said. “I’m not cutting any corners when it comes to that.”
To support Miller’s covid campaign for kids, visit vonsackshunger.org.