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Broncos LB Miller says missing out on big bucks no big deal

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Von Miller isn't looking back.

The second overall selection in the NFL draft said he has no regrets over staying in school, suing the NFL or missing out on some $50 million.

The Denver Broncos' new linebacker was expected to sign a four-year deal worth about $21 million on Wednesday as players, including in-limbo quarterback Kyle Orton, reported to Dove Valley for new coach John Fox's first training camp.

Miller would have been in line for about $70 million had the rookie salary structure not changed with the new labor deal, but the former Texas A&M pass-rusher figures he'll make it up down the line.

"I plan on getting three, four, five contracts. I don't plan on just getting this one," Miller said while negotiations continued. "Whatever the future contracts may be, I'm happy with those, too. I just want to play football. I'm not really worried about all that other stuff."

Miller tweeted early Wednesday: "Anxious to get this contract done! I've waited long enough to play football!" But he had to wait a while longer as contract talks dragged into the evening and the Broncos signed late-round draft picks Julius Thomas, Mike Mohamed and Virgil Green.

Last year's No. 2 pick, Detroit Lions defensive standout Ndamukong Suh, signed a five-year deal worth $40 million guaranteed and as much as $68 million overall.

"You really can't be possessive over something you didn't have," Miller said. "You hear about what Suh made last year and all that stuff. I've been playing football all my life for free. Whatever it is, whatever my contract may be, I'm good with whatever."

Miller led the nation with 17 sacks as a junior, then returned for his senior season, refined his game and raised his stock.

He'll start at strongside outside linebacker, often lining up on the opposite side of the formation from 2009 NFL sacks king Elvis Dumervil, forcing offenses into a pick-your-poison choice in protection schemes.

Dumervil is coming back from a torn chest muscle that sidelined him all last season.

"He's Batman, I'm Robin," said Miller, whose polite off-the-field demeanor belies the holy terror he represents to offensive tackles on game day.

But, he added, "Robin had to save Batman a couple of times, too."

Miller will play second fiddle financially to Dumervil, who signed a five-year, $58 million contract last summer that included $43 million in guarantees shortly before he got hurt in the first week of training camp.

Robert Ayers is also returning from an injury-marred season and he's expecting a breakout season as he returns to defensive end in Fox's 4-3 scheme, a position he played at Tennessee, after playing outside linebacker in the 3-4 system the last two seasons.

"We've got to get a whole new trio then," Miller said, struggling for another nickname. "I just had the Batman and Robin thing. ... We could be the Legion of Doom."

That would be a welcome change in Denver, where the defense has been mostly dreadful for years.

Coming off the worst season in their 51-year history, the Broncos must fix a defense that gave up a whopping 471 points last year, and Miller is the cornerstone of that refurbishing project.

The second selection was the highest in team history following a 4-12 debacle that cost Josh McDaniels his job as coach and de facto general manager and led to a front office shake-up. John Elway was brought in as chief of football operations and he hired Fox as coach and empowered general manager Brian Xanders to help rebuild the Broncos following McDaniels' 22-month reign of error.

The new regime selected a half dozen defenders in the draft -- safeties Rahim Moore and Quinton Carter, linebackers Miller, Nate Irving and Mike Mohamed and end Jeremy Beal -- but they didn't grab a defensive tackle in a draft that was deep at that position.

So, they're working feverishly this week to land some free agents who can plug the middle along with Kevin Vickerson, who signed a two-year, $4.75 million deal in the offseason. Defensive tackles Ronnell Brown of James Madison and Colby Whitlock of Texas Tech were among the 17 undrafted free agents they signed Wednesday.

And they traded wide receiver Jabar Gaffney to Washington for defensive end Jeremy Jarmon, a third-year pro who was miscast in the Redskins' 3-4 scheme last season.

Miller, who chose uniform No. 58 in honor of his favorite player, the late Derrick Thomas, put his name on the lawsuit against the NFL along with the likes of established stars Drew Brees, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, a decision that engendered good will among veterans.

"All those guys have shown me a lot of love, a lot of respect for doing that," Miller said. "I didn't do it for myself, I did it for all the guys that came before me and all the guys coming after me. It was all for them."

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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