As the defending NFL Defensive Player of the Year runner-up, Von Miller came away from his offseason USO Tour to Afghanistan not jealous of the guy who beat him out but impressed.
J.J. Watt received 49 votes for the top defensive honor in 2012. Miller was hardly a close second with one vote.
Watt, the Houston Texans' star defensive tackle, and Miller, the Broncos' superb pass-rushing linebacker, were together during Super Bowl week in New Orleans and then to honor the U.S. military overseas.
Miller noticed an uncommon dedication in Watt. Waking up Miller one morning in Afghanistan, Watt said he needed to get ready to throw out the first pitch for the Houston Astros for the April 1, major-league opener. Miller wondered why Watt needed to put all that time in for one pitch. Then Watt explained he also was going to be taking batting practice before the game.
Back stateside, Miller saw some highlights of Watt's performance. His first pitch reportedly was clocked at 85 mph. Which was less impressive than his BP session.
"You see J.J. just cracking them out there," Miller said. "He had been working on it. And this was something outside of football. I just want to take that aspect of what makes him the type of person, the type of player he is and add little bit to my game and hopefully have a little bit better season."
Miller finished third in the NFL with 18.5 sacks last year. Watt had 20.5 and San Francisco's Aldon Smith was second with 19.5 sacks.