Heath Miller announced his retirement today after 11 seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Miller started 167 out of of 168 games for Pittsburgh, and leaves the team as one of the greatest tight ends to play for the historic franchise.
The two-time Super Bowl champion started every postseason game during his tenure in Pittsburgh, according to the Steelers' website. Miller currently holds the franchise's tight end records for receptions (592), receiving yards (6,559) and receiving touchdowns (45).
The 6-foot-5, 256-pound tight end would run through tacklers and was consistently quarterback Ben Roethlisberger's safety outlet whenever under pressure. Miller scored multiple touchdowns in every season with the Steelers, and was a first round pick in the 2005 NFL Draft.
The Steelers will clearly miss one of their all-time great players, and will now look to tight ends Matt Spaeth and Jesse James to fill his role in the upcoming season. The team used a fifth round pick on James in the 2015 NFL Draft, but he saw limited action last season, playing in only eight games. Spaeth, who turned 32 years old this past season, becomes Pittsburgh's top tight end going into next season.
The Steelers may look to add a tight end this offseason, as Spaeth is on the last year of his contract and has never put up the same numbers as Miller during his time in Pittsburgh. The Steelers lost a key piece this offseason, but have now gained an additional $4 million in salary cap room. While it's unlikely the Steelers find a tight end of Miller's caliber, they could look to target one in the 2016 NFL Draft or free agency.