After suffering an ACL tear on Thanksgiving Day during the 2022 season and starting this season on the Physically Unable to Perform list, defensive end Von Miller made his comeback for the Bills in a 25-20 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars in London.
Though limited as he works his way back to game shape, Miller expressed his satisfaction with getting back on the field for the first time in his 13th NFL season. He acknowledged there’s work ahead to regain the dominant pass-rushing form he’s known for.
“This is just the beginning,” Miller commented post-game. “I felt good being out there, but I also felt there’s more I can do. I’m not quite back to my best yet, but this is a positive starting point. I’ll keep progressing, and I’m confident I’ll return to my previous level of play.”
Head coach Sean McDermott revealed that Miller had been on a restricted workload, a precautionary measure considering the extended time he spent away from the game.
“I’m just getting my feet wet. Eventually, I’ll be back at full throttle,” Miller explained. “But it was a good feeling to be on the field with my teammates and get back into the groove. It’s something I can build upon.”
Despite registering just one tackle, McDermott expressed his satisfaction with having the three-time First-Team All-Pro back on the field, recognizing the arduous journey Miller had undergone to return.
“It’s been a long road for Von, and he’s put in a tremendous effort to get back here. It’s great to have him back with us,” McDermott remarked.
For the other Bills defenders, seeing Miller back on the line of scrimmage provided a morale boost during a challenging game.
“It was significant to see number 40 lining up. He instills confidence in many of us, including myself,” safety Micah Hyde noted. “He was on a pitch count today, and we can’t rush him back. Von’s going to keep improving, and we’re excited for that.”
Miller has his sights set on the upcoming Sunday Night Football matchup against the New York Giants, eager to continue his progression.
“It was a smart move. I got enough reps to build on and prepare for next week against the Giants,” Miller said.
While the Bills celebrated the return of one defensive star, 2022 First-Team All-Pro linebacker Matt Milano’s day took a dark turn as he left the game in the first quarter with a knee injury that may have long-term implications for his availability.
“It was tough. I saw him in the blue tent, and I was hoping it was just a minor issue,” Miller shared. “Thoughts and prayers go out to Matt Milano.”
Milano’s knee became trapped under a pile of Bills and Jaguars linemen after quarterback Trevor Lawrence was sacked. Milano was carted off the field and received an X-ray during the game, as reported by the NFL Network broadcast.
“It’s a grim aspect of the game, dealing with injuries, especially the severe ones. But we have to keep moving forward. It may sound cliché, but it’s the only option we have,” said left tackle Dion Dawkins in the locker room after the game.