Miller announces end to playing career after spine injury
As much as it hurt him to say it, Collin Miller officially announced his retirement from football on Tuesday.
The senior inside linebacker fell to the turf during a goal-line tackle during Nebraska’s loss to Illinois on Nov. 21 and was carted off the field and taken to a local hospital.
Miller was later diagnosed with a spinal concussion, which is characterized by a temporary sensory impairment and motor weakness.
While he was expected to make a full recovery and was back observing practices days after the injury, Miller said he met with a Nebraska team neurologist who advised that it would be in the best injury of his health, safety, and future to end his playing career.
"I'll probably be hanging up the cleats for good," Miller said. "Just for health reasons and to make sure I'm able to throw a football around with my kid down the road or dirve my own car or take a shower on my own or feed myself on my own.
"It was a very scary situation against Illinois."
Miller said he'd been overwhelmed by the outpour of support from his teammates, coaches, and fans since his injury.
"That's one of the reasons why I came to Nebraska, is the people here around the state are just so welcoming with big hearts and open arms," Miller said. "You seen an injury like this, and I mean, I'm getting thousands of letters in the mail here at the stadium from people just wishing me the best."
One of five players voted as a team captain this season, Miller still ranks sixth on the team with 27 tackles this season despite playing in just four games. He also added two tackles for loss and two quarterback hurries.
But the Fishers, Ind., native served an even more important role as one of NU’s vocal and emotional leaders on and off the field.
Even after his injury, Miller has constantly stayed around the Huskers at practices and games cheering on his teammates and providing whatever type of leadership he could.
“I already thought the world of his character before this injury, but this has just made me respect him even more as a person,” redshirt freshman linebacker Nick Henrich said earlier this season. “He’s truly just an amazing guy.”
Miller said he’d always had hopes of getting into coaching after his playing days ended, and he’d likely try to find an opportunity to coach somewhere next fall.
In the meantime, Miller will continue to do everything he can to help his team, even if he can’t be on the field.
“The one thing about Nebraska is they treat you like a NFL team out here,” Miller said. “They treat you like a celebrity. I could kinda say that I played and fulfilled those achievements I wanted to reach playing for the great state of Nebraska.
“It was a fun run.”