PITTSBURGH — Heath Miller is undoubtedly one of the best tight ends in Steelers history.
With rookie Pat Freiermuth having a strong first NFL season, some have compared him to the former Pittsburgh great, and the two actually got to meet before Monday night’s game against the Chicago Bears with Miller in town.
Steelers fans have already taken to chanting “Muuuuuuuth” after his catches, as they did with Miller’s first name years ago. Fellow rookie Najee Harris got in on that action before one of Freiermuth’s postgame press conferences this season, as well.
Are those comparisons valid? They sure seem to be.
Wednesday, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger revealed that fans aren’t the only ones that have made that comparison.
Roethlisberger retold the story of Freiermuth’s draft night. He said he was out on a date with his wife, and had never heard of Freiermuth, who played his college football at Penn State. But a text from former Steelers offensive coordinator Bruce Arians told him all he needed to know.
“I got a text from BA that said, ‘He’s the closest thing to Heath Miller I’ve ever seen. You’ll love this kid,’” Roethlisberger said. “That was enough for me. You’ve seen it.”
Through eight games, Freiermuth has caught 27 of his 33 targets for 245 yards and four touchdowns. Through the first eight games of Miller’s rookie season, he had hauled in 21 of 27 targets for 211 yards and six scores.
Freiermuth’s two touchdowns against the Bears was the first time a rookie Steelers tight end scored twice in one game since Miller had two against Baltimore on Oct. 31, 2005. After Roethlisberger hit Freiermuth for his second touchdowns against the Bears, the rookie had a request for the veteran quarterback: get Miller back for every game.
“Maybe he’s trying to impress Heath,” Roethlisberger said. “We’ll take it.”