The Chicago Bears caught a lot of people by surprise when they traded up from the fourth round all the way to the second in the draft back in April. Their target? Memphis wide receiver Anthony Miller. It was by far the largest leap in terms of pick position GM Ryan Pace had ever made in his tenure, and cost the team a future second round pick to pull off.
So it was clear that both he and his front office felt strongly about Miller in terms of his talent and his character. There was even a rumor that some executives in other war rooms groaned when the Bears made that move. So clearly, if true there was a consensus that the team had gotten themselves a potentially good one.
For the first time, fans were given an up-close look at exactly who Miller is in the Bears’ web series, Meet The Rookies. They found out one thing above all else. This guy loves to work. So much so that some people were a little annoyed by him when he first got to Memphis back in 2014.
Anthony Miller pulled a classic “Rudy” by practicing too hard
Any self-respecting football fan has seen the 1993 classic movie Rudy starring Sean Astin. In it, his character Dan Ruettiger had a dream of playing football at Notre Dame. Unfortunately, his size immediately put him at a disadvantage. So he had to first get into the college and then somehow make the team as a walk-on.
This required a relentless, almost combative work ethic that drew the anger of older teammates who felt he was making them look bad during practice. It seems Miller can relate to Ruettiger. He encountered something similar as a walk-on himself at Memphis.
“I can vaguely remember my first practice but I just know I went hard every single day, and you know. All the juniors and seniors, they were like, ‘Man, slow down. It’s just practice.’ I was like, man no. First of all, I’m not on scholarship so you can’t tell me to slow down. I’m trying to get it just like you. Some of them already had it. But at the end of the day, that’s just how I practice anyway.”
It’s likely that the teammates who told Miller that were the ones trying to skate by on less effort. They were in it for the free education and not doing everything in their power to be the best. Miller clearly doesn’t compute with something like that. His mother instilled in him from an early age to never let somebody else outwork him.
The results speak for themselves. Miller went from walk-on to second round draft pick in four years. Many more talented players have accomplished less in their football careers and this kid is far from finished. His desire is to be the best ever to play the game. While that may not be possible, it will be loads of fun watching him try.