Denver Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller (58) on the sidelines during the game against the St. Louis Rams at Sports Authority Field.
(Photo: Ron Chenoy, USA TODAY Sports)
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. - Von Miller has rarely been seen by anyone but members of the Denver Broncos or his immediate family in the two weeks since starting his NFL-imposed six-game suspension.
His lack of public appearances and news media interviews has been by design, with those close to Miller advising him not to draw attention to himself -- and away from his teammates - while he is prohibited from playing.
Still, Miller has remained the most buzzed-about Bronco, even more so than Peyton Manning, despite the quarterback's seven-touchdown performance last week against the Baltimore Ravens, the defending Super Bowl champions, and an upcoming game against his brother.
The Broncos say they haven't employed their own version of the "Dez Rules" - specific guidelines Cowboys owner Jerry Jones established for troubled wide receiver Dez Bryant that included curfews and a glorified babysitter - but these days, Miller is rarely left alone.
So if the rules aren't specific, they are understood: Lay low and stay out of trouble.
His parents, Von Sr. and Gloria, and brother Vins have joined him in Colorado, and his agents and lawyers are in daily contact with various officials with Broncos. Miller has had numerous private meetings with members of the Broncos coaching staff and is spending more time with the Broncos player development director.
"I'm not going to get into all our operations, but it'd be fair to say we have a lot of great resources here," Broncos coach John Fox said.
Miller's public approval seems to be lower now than it was nearly a month ago when the NFL announced his six-game suspension, punishment for providing a diluted urine sample this offseason. Miller was already in the league's recreational drug program for a failed test in 2011.
But the most recent backlash has come from a series of traffic issues - an arrest in ugust on a warrant for failing to appear in an Arapahoe County, Colo., court on an October 2012 traffic ticket; citations for speeding and driving on a suspended license last week; and an 18-hour flurry of attention Wednesday night and Thursday morning about a March 2012 California speeding ticket. Turns out, that ticket was paid and the case closed in July 2012.
"I've had multiple traffic tickets to be honest with you," Fox said Thursday. "It's just a matter of handling it, getting it paid for, because people want their money ... and we're helping him do that."
Yet those off-field missteps, no matter how minor they would be if taken individually, have turned into a nightmare for the young star, so much so that the local conversation, especially on sports talk radio and social media, turned from questioning Miller's immature behavior to debating whether it is time for the Broncos to rid themselves of him.
"(Heck) no!" Broncos defensive tackle Kevin Vickerson loudly told USA TODAY Sports. "No, you don't trade Von Miller. (Heck) no. I'm just being real honest. The guy got suspended and some stuff happened, but you don't trade him. Come on."
No one on the Broncos coaching staff or anyone in the front office is ready to consider parting with Miller. That doesn't happen with a 24-year-old two-time Pro Bowler with 30 sacks in two seasons.
But the team has acknowledged it needs to help make sure Miller doesn't mess up again. That means no more traffic tickets, no more outstanding warrants, no being late, no more surprises that could lead to negative attention.
"Anything that can be done, we're doing," Fox said. "In a good way, some of this is getting cleaned up."
Miller, while barred from practices and games, has not been cut off from his teammates. Thursday, for example, he ate lunch with several members of the Broncos offensive line in the locker room during the 45 minutes it was open to the media.
Miller has declined all interview requests since his suspension was announced Aug. 20.
"He needs us just as much as we need him," Vickerson said. "He's not a bad guy. That's the perception he's getting, but he's not. He's not a problem in this locker room. If you know Von and you've met Von, you would love Von."
Lindsay H. Jones, USA TODAY Sports