Gabe Miller is expected to make his NFL debut on Sunday.
And if does, it will mark a significant step for a player who was drafted by the Chiefs in 2011 as linebacker, converted to tight end by the Seahawks and, after a stint with the Bears, has returned to outside linebacker with the Redskins.
So, yeah, Miller’s path to an NFL roster hasn’t been easy or straightforward.
“It’s been a lot of work getting to this point,” said Miller, who played tight end and defensive end at Oregon State. “A lot of disappointment, too. It’s pretty cool to finally be able to strap up and go for Week 1.”
The 26-year-old added: “It’s been an interesting journey. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
The Redskins signed Miller to the practice squad last December with the intention of converting him back to linebacker. He had been cut by the Bears in August after being hit with a four-game suspension for violating the league’s PED policy.
“So, as soon as last season was over, I became a linebacker,” Miller said Thursday at Redskins Park. “That’s where my training focused this offseason. I was learning a lot of new stuff, but there was some stuff I could draw from my college days.”
He entered training camp as a long shot to make the 53-man roster. He had to beat out Rob Jackson, Brandon Jenkins, Adrian Robinson and Everette Brown to earn the fourth spot behind Brian Orakpo, Ryan Kerrigan and Trent Murphy.
And that’s exactly what he did, although he acknowledged that he never felt great about his chances.
“I don’t think there was ever a point where I was confident,” he said. “You just never know how these things shake out. I’ve been cut a few times. I know it’s tough to make a team.”
Miller, who is listed at Kerrigan's backup, likely punched his ticket to the Redskins' roster in the preseason finale. He recorded two tackles and a sack. But it wasn’t just any sack. He chased down Buccaneers quarterback Mike Kafka, stripped him of the ball, recovered the fumble and advanced it to the two-yard line.
“That was a good play for me,” he said with a smile. “Luckily I was in that position and I made it happen. I think that may have contributed some to me being on the team.”