Updated at: 10/14/2013 5:35 PM
By EDDIE PELLS
(AP) ENGLEWOOD, Colo. - No apologies. No promises. No explanations.
Instead, Broncos linebacker Von Miller simply asked his fans, teammates and coaches to judge him on what he does in the future, now that his six-game suspension for violating the NFL’s drug-abuse policy is over.
"I definitely made mistakes in the past," Miller said Monday during his first en masse interview since his suspension officially came down. "It won’t do anybody any good to go back and defend that stuff. I’ve already served my suspension. I’m working hard to gain everybody’s trust back."
He fell short of the promise he made in July, when news of his pending suspension first surfaced, that "when this is all done and resolved, I will sit down with all you guys and be candid about everything."
Instead, during a nine-minute interview heavy on scripted talking points, the third-year veteran talked about how grateful he was for the support his teammates have shown him during his ordeal, and how happy he’ll be to get back onto the practice field with the Broncos on Wednesday.
The last 2 1/2 months, he conceded, have been difficult _ not only the part about sitting out, but hearing the constant reports about his traffic tickets, missed court dates, his attempt to manipulate the NFL drug-testing system and, of course, all the conjecture about how he let down his teammates.
Yes, the Broncos went 6-0 without him. They also head into Game 7, at Indianapolis on Sunday, with the bottom-ranked passing defense in the league. They’ve allowed more than 500 yards once and more than 300 three other times. Last season, when Miller made 18 1/2 of his 30 career sacks, the Broncos didn’t allow a single 300-yard passing game in the regular season.
"I’ve definitely had to mature up a lot," said Miller, who insists he’s now in the best physical shape of his life. "There was some stuff that I didn’t see that I see now. I’ve definitely taken strides to do that. I can’t say I’m super mature. Not that it just happens. It’s a constant struggle. I know if I take it one day at a time, I’ll get there."
Can he guarantee he’ll never make another mistake?
"I can’t sit here and say this is never going to happen or I’m never going to do this," he said. "I’d be lying. I’ve just got to take it one day at a time and gain everybody’s trust back."
He used that valued word _ "Trust" _ 11 times over the session, during which he was peppered with nearly two dozen questions from the 30 or so reporters and cameramen crowded around his locker.
After their 35-19 win over Jacksonville, Miller’s teammates offered a united front, not judging the linebacker but sticking mainly to the advantages they’ll rediscover when a pass rusher of his caliber returns. The Broncos don’t have to officially bring him back on the roster until Saturday.
"It cost us because he’s a superstar," safety Rahim Moore said. "He’s a great player. Just imagine what we could have done here in these six games. Now it’s all over. Everyone’s getting back healthy, everybody’s back practicing. We’re excited."
Miller said he had talked to all his teammates and coaches. Coach John Fox said Miller’s "got the support of everybody here."
Asked if he was concerned with another incident, which would likely cost Miller an entire season, the coach didn’t sound any more confident than his linebacker.
"I get concerned every night about incidents, to be quite honest with you," Fox said. "I think he understands that he made some errors, we have a lot of people here to help him, including his teammates, coaching staff and people in the organization. We’ll see where it goes. People in life make mistakes."
In the strangest twist of his interview, Miller went out of his way to say that, no, his mother and father had not moved in with him since his troubles went public and, no, he had no need for a so-called baby sitter to monitor his every move.
"You can go around the facility and ask anybody, and nobody would give you that description of what they did as a baby sitter," Miller said.
But he has received plenty of words of wisdom. They are, he said, only as good as the man receiving them.
"I’ve got a lot of good advice but I feel like it all starts with me," he said. "No matter how much help you have around, if you can’t do it, you just can’t do it. I feel like I’ve taken steps in that direction. It’s a constant struggle every single day, but I’m positive I’ll be all right."
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