Zach Miller signs 1-year deal with Bears less than year after serious knee injury

CHICAGO -- The Bears re-signed tight end Zach Miller to a one-year contract, the team announced Monday.

Miller's career might have been over after he suffered a catastrophic knee injury last season, but the Bears guaranteed the 33-year-old a minimum of $458,000 for 2018, according to ProFootballTalk.com. Miller would collect $790,000 -- the full monetary value of his split contract -- if he manages to play in the upcoming season.

Miller watched part of the Bears' OTA practice at the team facility Wednesday as he continues to recover from a knee dislocation that required emergency vascular surgery to save his left leg.

Miller was rushed to University Medical Center New Orleans on Oct. 29 after he dislocated his left knee while making an over-the-shoulder catch in the end zone during Chicago's game against the Saints.

Miller's leg bent awkwardly on the play and he stayed down for several minutes until he was taken off the field on a cart.

Officials later ruled that Miller did not maintain possession of the ball, negating a potential touchdown catch.

Doctors performed emergency vascular surgery that night to repair a damaged artery in his left leg that stemmed from the knee dislocation. Miller remained hospitalized in New Orleans for eight days before being transported back to Chicago in a medevac jet.

"I remember, before I got into the emergency surgery, the last thing I was telling the doctors was, 'Please, save my leg!' Because I knew that something wasn't quite right just in the way my leg was feeling and the way it was filling up," Miller said last December. "I knew we had issues."

Since returning home, Miller's health has steadily improved. The veteran tight end walked without a noticeable limp when he greeted Bears officials and media members during last week's open practice session. Miller was awarded the 2017 Good Guy Award by the Chicago chapter of the Pro Football Writers Association.

Miller, who has battled injuries much of his career, was one of Chicago's most consistent offensive performers in the John Fox era.

Miller caught 101 passes for 1,161 yards and 11 touchdowns over parts of three seasons with the Bears.

However, Chicago signed free agent Trey Burton to be their primary pass-catching tight end in Matt Nagy's offense in the offseason. Burton received a four-year deal that includes $22 million in guaranteed money.

The Bears also drafted tight end Adam Shaheen in the second round in 2016. Veteran Dion Sims is also expected to have a sizable role in 2018. The Bears are scheduled to pay Sims $6 million for the upcoming season.