A new general manager's wish to put his fingerprint on a team with players he's familiar with led veteran offensive tackle Brett Miller to New York in 1990 after six seasons with Atlanta and one with San Diego.
"Chet Franklin, who brought me to the Chargers from Atlanta, got fired after my one year there," Miller said. "Bobby Beathard came in and shipped everybody out that he didn't personally bring in. So Jim McMahon got shipped to Philly. I went to New York. And several other players were shipped out, as well. It was just a management change."
Coincidentally, Miller's familiarity with a former coach is why he signed as a free agent with the Jets.
"I had an offensive line coach, Larry Beightol, who I had worked with when I was in Atlanta," Miller said. "He really sealed the deal for me because he was a great coach and we worked well together. And I knew his methods and his technique and the schemes, so it was a pretty good fit."
Starting at right tackle, Miller fit in well with the other vets on the O-line: Jeff Criswell, Mike Haight, Jim Sweeney, and Dave Cadigan. Plus, he took the time to show the ropes of playing professional football to New York's rookies Dwayne White and Roger Duffy.
And after going 6-10 in 1990, the Jets posted an 8-8 record the following season and made the playoffs for the first time in six years.
"It's really unfortunate we lost that (Wild Card Game to the then-Houston Oilers) by a very close score, (17-10). But we had some great games," Miller said. "I had some great times. I loved the fans. I loved New York. It was a different part of the country for me.
"And there were a bunch of really good guys, James Hasty, Erik McMillan, Dennis Byrd, Brad Baxter, Kenny O'Brien. Actually, Kenny's a neighbor of mine. I see him once or twice a month. So great guys, a good experience. I wish I could say the Super Bowl."
Playing three seasons with the Jets and 10 in the NFL, Miller tripled the average length of a player's career despite playing in the trenches and having contact on every snap. What makes him most proud of his career?
"Oh, I don't know, I think it's a great accomplishment. Ten years in the league is a long time," Miller said. "A lot of those traits and characteristics and things that you've learned about people and how to work as a team, I think you're able to carry those out of a pro career and into the regular world."
The father of two – Giana and Hayley – and grandfather of two – Grayson and Peyton – Miller makes his home in Redondo Beach, California.
And after working as a television sports broadcaster in Los Angeles, Miller's regular world now is as the director of sports and entertainment for Douglas Elliman Real Estate.
"I was the weekend anchor for KTLA, and I really loved doing that," Miller said. "And when my first contract was up and I was renegotiating, I worked for a pittance compared to the rest of the people on the station, my ratings were up and they refused to budge. So I quit. My agent was shopping me around to a couple of other markets and she had a deal in Florida and a deal in Boston.
"I had my real estate license since '99, and I realized I wasn't going to be making money like the national broadcasters do, so I was like, I'll just stay here and do real estate. And it turned out to be a great decision. It's a great career. A great company, great people, the market's on fire. The harder I work, the more money I make, so it's really a self-starting job. I enjoy the business."
In the business fulltime for nine years, and with Douglas Elliman, "the third largest privately held real estate business in North America," for the last six, Miller feels it's a good fit.
"They take care of their people," Miller said. "It's a lot easier to turn a ship around on a privately owned company than a corporate company. A corporate company moves at the speed of a glacier. You can't get things done. If you approach Douglas Elliman upper management with a good idea and they like it, they do whatever it takes to get it done."
In his role, Miller leverages his contacts in sports to allow people to transition from professional athletics to real estate.
"Besides the business I do in luxury real estate, whether it's the Players Association, Major League Baseball, the NHL, the NBA, or the NFL, I'm kind of an ambassador when it comes to relationships with pro athletes trying to transition into a new career," Miller said.
"They could become developers, they can start investing, or if they want to relocate from New York to California, they can work with me. They know and trust me because I'm a brother of theirs. It's a tight fraternity. I'm going to get them the best deal at the best price. They're going to be taken care of and not get jerked around. Realtors don't have that great of a reputation, but I'm doing my best to change that."