Broncos 'hope' to see Von Miller in offseason program

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Since Von Miller won Super Bowl 50 MVP, he has been everywhere.

Flip a channel, any channel, and Miller is there. A late-night talk show here, a comedy show there, and even a spot on "Dancing With The Stars."

"I’m proud of Von," Denver Broncos coach Gary Kubiak said. "... I know where Von’s come from and where he’s been and what he’s been through ... we all know Von likes to have fun, but Von knows when it’s time to go to work too, so I’m proud of him. So, I hope he’s having a good time out there and make sure he knows we’ll see him April 18th. We look forward to seeing him."

The question has become when the Broncos will see Miller back in their building, handling football business. Miller has been designated the Broncos' "exclusive" franchise player, which kept him off the market as a free agent and carries a one-year tender offer for the average of the salaries of the top players at his position for the 2016 season.

The last two position players who carried the franchise-player tag for the Broncos -- Ryan Clady and Demaryius Thomas -- skipped the Broncos’ offseason program while a long-term deal was worked out. Asked this week at the league meetings if he thought Miller would attend the team’s offseason program, which opens April 18, Kubiak said he remained optimistic.

"I sure hope so," Kubiak said. "I’ve talked to him a couple times."

Reminded that Clady and Thomas skipped the offseason program and asked if that meant Miller would skip as well, Kubiak added: “I don’t know that. Obviously I expect everybody there. We’ll see, but Von’s always been a worker, he’s always taken care of his business."

Miller and his representatives want the long-term deal with guaranteed money that resembles what Ndamukong Suh received from the Miami Dolphins -- $59.96 million guaranteed in a $114.4 million six-year contract. Attending offseason workouts can be seen as lost leverage, so players stay away until a deal is in place.

The Broncos see how things went for Clady and Thomas after they stayed away. Clady suffered a season-ending foot injury in Week 2 of the 2013 season, after he signed a long-term deal in July. Thomas, despite another 1,300-yard season, never looked quite comfortable in the offense and had a career-high 17 dropped passes in regular season.

Broncos executive vice president of football operations/general manager John Elway was openly frustrated last spring when Thomas stayed away, offering that a player is "covered" as far as income and medical insurance if injured in a team-sanctioned workout. A player injured off-site after the offseason program has opened would risk a "non-football injury" designation and the team would not be required to pay the player’s salary.

At the time Elway said it had "zero value" for Thomas to stay away and "to me it makes no sense."

Miller’s tender will be guaranteed for more than $14 million when the final numbers of this year’s free-agent class are added to the mix. He would have to sign the tender to attend any team functions.

Miller has promised not to fall victim to the whirlwind of the post-Super Bowl celebrity tour that has continued with his "Dancing With The Stars" spot. He said he doesn't want the Broncos winning ways to “be a one-year thing." He also said he would begin his workouts in March, saying "I plan on proving a point."

Miller rebounded from a six-game suspension for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy and a torn ACL in 2013 to be named Super Bowl MVP with his 2.5 sacks and two forced fumbles in the 24-10 victory over the Carolina Panthers. He had the game’s signature play when he ripped the ball free from Panthers quarterback Cam Newton and the Broncos recovered the fumble for a first-quarter touchdown.

Miller also had 2.5 sacks and an interception in the Broncos' win over the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship Game.

Since Elway made him the No. 2 pick of the 2011 draft -- Elway’s first draft selection as the team’s top football decision-maker -- Miller has been named to four Pro Bowls and has 60 sacks in five seasons.

Kubiak said he had confidence Miller will "be ready to go" whenever the linebacker arrives. When asked if he was worried about the post-Super Bowl festival being too much for a player like Miller, Kubiak said: “I’m a little different there, I think they deserve it. They work their tails off throughout the course of a season ... you want guys to enjoy what they did and what took place."