Miller lays out RB Ahman Green
Cornerback has been a position of interest among Jets followers, especially now that the spot in the secondary still hasn't been addressed after the team's blizzard of moves in the first week of free agency.
Justin Miller would politely like to remind folks not to forget that he's still here.
"Fans see what they see," Miller said late last week at the Jets training complex. "I was out for a whole year. I can only prove my point when I'm on the field and given my opportunity. I just want to go out there and play and be successful."
Miller's well on the road back from his Game 2 knee injury last season. He's already been rehabbing hard, both at the complex and, for a two-week period, out in the "different weather" of Arizona.
"It's going well. Each day is a continuous process of trying to get better and trying to get myself back on the field," he said. "I'm doing everything possible to be successful and to be out there playing again."
That includes jumping into some cutting-edge machinery to get his wheels back in NFL shape, such as Alter-G's G-Trainer treadmill.
"It helps you speed up your recovery process, run faster, but not do as much pounding on your body," he explained. "In this day and age, there's so much new technology, so many possible ways to get back faster and stronger, and you just have to be committed to that."
Miller appeared committed to stepping up in the Jets' defensive hierarchy last season. Coming off his Pro Bowl appearance as the AFC's kick returner after the 2006 season, he showed signs all summer of also improving the corner skills for which he was selected out of Clemson in the second round of the '05 draft.
Then came the injury on the second-quarter kickoff return at Baltimore. Head coach Eric Mangini couldn't hide his disappointment when he announced three days later that Miller was being placed on injured reserve.
"Justin had an outstanding off-season and I really liked the way he was working at his craft," Mangini said. "He and Bryan Cox spent a lot of time together and Bryan was helping him along, giving him some insight on things that helped him grow as a player and as a person. I saw that quite a bit, at practice and at the meetings. He takes some of the most impressive notes of any of our players and those things all add up. ... It's tough, it's tough."
"Tough" was the same word Miller used to describe his sudden transition from player to spectator.
"The initial shock was that I wasn't going to play again," he said. "But after that, you've got to put it behind you and progress forward. I prayed about it and I talked to my mother after that. And the next day I think I was all positive spirits because I knew I could bounce back."
Miller has put himself in position to rebound. He's even cleared some time out from his rehab to make the occasional community appearance, such as on Super Bowl morning when he shot some hoops with special-needs kids during the Sid Jacobson Jewish Community Center and Roslyn, N.Y., Booster Basketball's "Shooting Stars" program.
"When I have the opportunity to do it, I always go out and do it. At the end of the day, it's more for the kids than anything else, to see them excited," he said. "I wish I would've had somebody like that visit us when I was younger. Being from Owensboro, Ky., it was very rare that we'd see a professional athlete show up, even though we're the third-largest city in the state."
Miller still entertains the idea that he and the Jets can achieve great heights, the kind that would get him an invitation back to Owensboro High as a hometown hero.
"I feel very optimistic. I have a lot of expectations for myself," he said. "I'm shooting for the stars, I guess I would say. I want to get the most out of myself and achieve every accolade possible, not only for me but for this team. As long as we continue to grow and get better as a team and as a unit. That's the best outcome you can have."