National Football League (NFL) Tight End Zach Miller is in the midst of his seventh pro football season, but the profile of Miller can be traced back to his successful high school and collegiate career. A son to Tom and Jaki and brother to Brent and Kara, Miller was a standout tight end at Desert Vista High School in Phoenix, AZ, where he was unanimously selected as the No. 1 tight end in the nation in 2004. With that momentum behind him, the football player chose to play football at Arizona State, where he made an immediate impact for the Sun Devils. In his first season as a Sun Devil, the 6’5” true freshman tight end had the best season he would have at Arizona State, amassing 56 receptions, 552 yards and six touchdowns (h/t Arizona State University Athletic Profile).
Miller spent three seasons at ASU, and although he posted his best numbers as a freshman, he was acknowledged by the NCAA in his final season, 2006, as a junior. According to the Sun Devils’ athletic profile of Miller, the tight end became ASU’s first consensus All-American since NFL linebacker Terrell Suggs accomplished the feat in 2002. Among a slew of other awards that season, Miller was First-team All-Pac-10, which would go on to help his NFL draft stock.
In 2007, Miller was selected as the 38th-overall pick (second round) of the draft by the Oakland Raiders, a team that hadn’t won a Super Bowl since 1983. As a NFL rookie, Miller was solid in his first season in the league. He caught 44 passes for 444 yards and three touchdowns. More importantly, Miller stayed healthy all season long, playing in all 16 games for Oakland and proving his durability as a football player. The highlight of Miller’s rookie season came in Week 16 of the 2007 NFL season, when the tight end set career highs in catches (8) and yards (84) in a 30-17 loss to the San Diego Chargers.
After two more losing seasons in 2008 and 2009—seasons in which Miller continued to improve, collecting a total of 122 receptions, 1,583 yards and four scores—the Arizona native finally began to receive some recognition at the NFL level. His Raiders went 8-8 in 2010 and Miller was voted to his first Pro Bowl after posting 60 catches, 685 yards and a career-high five touchdowns that season. Miller’s standout game that season came against the Houston Texans, when he went for 11 receptions, 122 yards and a touchdown.
That would be the tight end’s last season with the Raiders, though, as Miller rode the high of his 2010 Pro Bowl season into free agency, inking a five-year, $34 million deal with the Seattle Seahawks, according to ESPN. After never missing more than one game in a single season during his time with Oakland, Miller continued that trend in Seattle, playing in 15 games for the Seahawks in 2011. Unfortunately for both Miller and the Seahawks, the tight end’s production was extremely limited, as he posted a career-low 25 receptions for 233 yards and zero touchdowns.
Seattle would get somewhat of a resurgent Miller in 2012. He played in all 16 games during the Seahawks’ 11-5 season, scoring three touchdowns and developing chemistry with rookie quarterback Russell Wilson. That chemistry carried into the post-season, where Miller shined, racking up 12 receptions, 190 yards and a touchdown in two playoff games. Although Seattle failed to reach the Super Bowl, 2012 marked Miller’s first taste of post-season action.
Currently during the 2013 NFL season, Miller has played in 12 of Seattle’s 14 games, which will mark the first time in his career that he’s missed more than one game in an NFL season. As far as production, the 28-year-old has found the endzone four times this season, including twice against the Jacksonville Jaguars in week three. Miller will get his second consecutive taste of playoff football this winter, as Seattle has already clinched a playoff berth.