Heath Miller may be gone, but his name still echoes inside Heinz Field when a tight end touches the ball, which is why the team will continue to preserve his number.
Steelers tight end Zach Gentry wore No. 83 at Michigan and again at Pittsburgh’s rookie minicamp earlier this month, though he switched to No. 81 when the team opened OTAs last week.
“Everybody was telling me about when tight ends make catches now, the crowd yells Heeeath,” Gentry said, via the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. “It was no big deal for me at all. I wore 83 in college, I didn’t ask for 83 (here).”
Gentry got to know Miller when the veteran mentored him at the NFL Combine, so he understands the fandom being one himself.
“He’s the nicest guy I ever met,” Gentry said. “He helped me a lot.”
While wide receiver Cobi Hamilton wore the number in 2016, no tight end has donned No. 83 since Miller retired at the end of the 2015 season.
A two-time Pro Bowl selection and two-time Super Bowl champion, Miller is one of just 12 tight ends in league history to reach 6,000 career receiving yards. His 592 receptions are the sixth most in NFL history by a tight end, while his 6,569 career receiving yards rank ninth most.
In Steelers history, Miller is the all-time franchise leader in receptions (592), receiving yards (6,569) and receiving touchdowns (45) at his position.