Denver Broncos' Von Miller considered opting out of season

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller, an eight-time Pro Bowl selection and an All-Decade selection for the 2010s, said Tuesday he had considered opting out of the 2020 season.

Miller, who tested positive for coronavirus in April, would have certainly been the highest profile, most accomplished player to have opted out thus far had he not, after careful consideration, elected to play. To this point the Broncos have had two players opt out for the season in right tackle Ja'Wuan James and defensive tackle Kyle Peko.

"I thought about it,'' Miller said. " ... I thought about all of my family, I took serious consideration and the things that could possibly happen. It's not a 100% bubble like basketball, so there are always going to be holes, but I felt like the job the Broncos were doing to keep us safe was enough for me not to opt out.''

Miller, who has asthma and regularly uses an inhaler to practice and play in games, said his battle with the virus had resulted in him losing 15 pounds. Even after he had quarantined and eventually tested negative, he still felt the effects of the virus for "two or three'' additional weeks.

"I did [have trouble], it was hard for me to get my wind back, probably for two or three weeks after the virus,'' Miller said. "During the virus I lost a lot of weight -- everybody is not the same, but for me I lost my taste and smell, I couldn't really, like, eat and when you can't taste or smell you kind of lose your appetite ... It was tough, no doubt about it, it was tough.''

Those experiences were why, when the potential to opt out for the season became an option for players, Miller gave it some thought. He said Tuesday that no one in his family asked him not to play, but that he went through the process of getting as much information about any potential risks if he did play even if he already had dealt with the virus.

"I just thought about it, I just really thought about all the things that could possibly happen,'' Miller said. "I thought about this season is different, I thought about -- I weighed the positives and negatives and just came to my own decision that I could play. But I thought about me having asthma ... I feel like every player should do that, I feel like every player should think about everything they could do.''

Miller's offseason workouts, which he began on Jan. 4 just days after the Broncos finished their 7-9 season in 2019, have become must-see viewing on social media for the team's faithful and he said Tuesday he only stopped them when he was dealing with the virus.

And since his bout with coronavirus, his teammates have peppered him with questions about the experience.

"I get all type of questions about the virus,'' Miller said. " ... I feel like it's me, me pushing it out there like 'hey this thing is serious, it's very, very serious and we've got to stay on top of it,' guys wearing masks, guys washing their hands, guys taking fish oil and all types of supplements to keep their immune system up.''