The Lions have agreed to terms on a one-year deal with veteran cornerback Justin Miller. Miller worked out for the team Wednesday and his signing adds depth to the secondary following the release Monday of cornerback Aaron Berry.
Miller, 28, was a second round pick of the Jets (No. 25 overall) in 2005 out of Clemson. He started 12 games his first two seasons with the Jets, but made his biggest impact as a kick returner. He averaged 26.3 yards per kickoff return as a rookie with one touchdown. He averaged 28.3 yards per return his second season with two more touchdowns, earning a Pro Bowl nod as the AFC’s return specialist.
The Jets waived Miller in 2008 after the team signed Ty Law. He’s since played with the Raiders, a second stint with the Jets and the Cardinals. He’s been out of football since 2010, though. He went back to school to earn his degree during the lockout last year to fulfill a promise he made to his family.
“My grandfather passed in 2010 and I had made a promise to my grandmother and my mother that I wanted to get a degree. With him passing, it was a way for me to clear my head and take an opportunity to fulfill a promise I made to my grandmother and mother,” Miller told detroitlions.com Wednesday. “If anything happened to them I didn’t want that day to come without them seeing me do that. It was an opportunity to do that and was very beneficial to me. You can’t play football forever.”
Miller finished his degree in Sports Management at Clemson last year.
Berry, who was projected to be a starter for the Lions this fall, was released after his second arrest in a month last weekend. The move left the Lions scrambling for Plan B just days before training camp begins on Thursday.
Miller brings another veteran presence to the secondary. Outside of Chris Houston and Jacob Lacey (91 starts), the Lions have 10 total starts among their other cornerbacks, a group that includes four rookies.
“It’s a blessing to even be in this position,” Miller said of signing with Lions. “I thank God every day just to be out here every day and being able to compete and do something I love.”
Miller will join Houston, Lacey, Alphonso Smith and rookie third-round draft pick Bill Bentley in the competition for the top three cornerback spots. It’s possible Miller sees more time as a kick returner, though, at least initially.
The Lions released receiver Marcus Harris to make room for Miller on the 90-man roster.
Tags: Justin Miller
Posted in Lions Insider Tim Twentyman | 8 Comments »