The first time I asked Heath Miller about his nickname was more than eight years ago. The last time was this past summer.
Each inquiry, he gave a sheepish, almost-embarrassed smile but politely answered it. After all, “Big Money” hardly describes Miller’s laid-back, unassuming and quiet persona.
“I don’t think it’s my nickname anymore,” Miller said with a chuckle back in November 2007. “Some people called me that in college, I think, because of my personality more just kind of a just a sarcastic name. And it kind of stuck.”
When I asked him in Latrobe during 2015 training camp, he was even less expansive. But he was just as polite.
Classic Heath Miller. He had no need for any attention heaped on him – in fact, he almost uncomfortable that he deserved ANY, as if to say, Just because I perform an athletic skill, why does that make me important? or, I’m just one small part of what we do around here; feel free to talk to any of my teammates who deserve it.
With that said, almost counter-intuitively, he still somehow managed to make himself one of the more approachable figures in the Steelers locker room. No matter the topic, no matter the time, no matter the situation, Miller was accommodating and respectful to any questions. (And believe me, he’s heard some dumb ones).
Like his game on the field, Miller’s personal style wasn’t loud and bombastic. It was almost boring. Take his typical choice of footwear spotted on him in the locker room? Regular old New Balance sneakers (the only reason I happened to notice this is that these always stood out to me for the sole reason of because they’re pretty much what this particular boring sportswriter wears – albeit Miller’s were always newer and cleaner).
It’s just one tiny, insignificant detail in Heath Miller’s life – but it seems perfectly fitting for the muted and low-key Super Steeler Pro Bowler.
“Certainly, that’s kind of the way I am,” he said. “I don’t think there’s any hiding going on.”
True to form, how do you think Miller proposed to his wife of more than eight years, Katie? Of course, it was anything but over-the-top or extravagant.
“I surprised her and just took her to this place that had a few of our friends over,” Miller said during that chat not long after his wedding eight years ago.
What, you were expecting an airplane carrying a banner or a flashy, public to-do?
That’s not Heath Miller.
So, how in the world did Miller not only get a nickname like, “Big Money”… but get a candy bar named after that, too – complete with Miller’s face standing as the centerpiece of a piece of paper currency (83 “dollars,” of course)?
“My agent thought it would be pretty funny and sarcastic,” Miller said of the chocolate, toffee and crisped rice concoction that was sold in the Pittsburgh area in the year after the team won Super Bowl XL.
There’s nothing funny or sarcastic about calling Miller the best at his position in the history of one of the NFL’s marquee franchises.