By Ashley Dunkak
Steven Miller performed well in the last preseason game, and he knew it.
On Thursday against the Buffalo Bills, the Detroit Lions rookie running back totaled 72 yards on 12 carries, including one on which he broke loose for a 34-yard gain. The Appalachian State alum also handled return duties in the first half.
“I felt really good,” Miller said. “I felt like I definitely helped myself somewhat, but before the game, preseason, there was a lot of pressure. I knew I had to do something if I wanted to make an impression on the team.”
Miller knew he had a solid final showing, but he also recognized that nothing is guaranteed. Teams had to be down to 75 players Tuesday, and 22 more will be cut by Saturday night. It is a stressful time for those on the bubble, but it is part of the process.
“This is the business,” Miller said. “It’s inevitable. It’s going to happen. I’m going to make sure I pray on it, and hopefully it goes my way.”
Others who rushed for the Lions Thursday were Joique Bell, Theo Riddick, Mikel Leshoure and Shaun Chapas. Starting running back Reggie Bush missed the game with an undisclosed injury, as did quite a few other first-stringers.
Miller said Bush, Leshoure and Bell all encouraged him throughout the preseason, giving him tips along with running backs coach Curtis Modkins.
“When I first got here, so nervous,” Miller said. “NFL – I’m actually living in the midst of my dreams. As it went on, I was talking to Coach, Coach Modkins, he’s a really great guy, and … he was putting bugs in my ear to help me, boost my confidence. It definitely helped me. Especially those older guys like Reggie Bush, Mikel, Joique. Those guys helped me.”
As far as whether Miller has done enough to make coaches want to keep him rather than cut him, the rookie is hopeful but far from positive.
“I pray so,” Miller said. “I pray so. I’m a hard worker and I’m going to just continue to be that way regardless of what happens whether it be with this team or another team. I pray that it’s this team, but I’m just going to pray on it.”