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Henry's Highlights
Monday, June 6, 2005

By Henry Hinton

Miller knocking hard on the NFL's door

Kevin Miller (right), whose leg made him East Carolina's all-time leading career scorer, is putting his considerable place-kicking talents to use these days for NFL- Europe's Berlin team, which will compete Saturday in Yello Strom World Bowl XIII.

Photo Credits: Berlin Thunder


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They say patience is a virtue. If true, then former East Carolina kicker Kevin Miller is a most virtuous guy.

As his NFL Europe team, the Berlin Thunder, heads to the World Bowl, it appears Miller’s patience has finally paid off.

Miller, who finished his career at East Carolina in 2002 as the school’s all time leading scorer, has hoped for a shot at the NFL since graduation. After many near misses, he finally landed a spot on an NFL roster in February, just in time to be allocated to a team in Europe.

The Seattle Seahawks signed Miller and sent him to the developmental league overseas at the behest of his former college coach, Steve Logan, who is in his second season on the coaching staff of the Thunder.

Kevin Miller

It appears Miller has made the most of his opportunity, converting 17 of 21 field goal attempts during the regular season, an 81 percent conversion rate that is the best in NFL Europe.

As with most players who get the chance to play in NFL Europe, Miller has enjoyed the unique opportunity to play at the next level in a foreign country.

“Berlin has been fun,” Miller said this week by e-mail. “It is a big city and there is a lot to do. Once I figured out the train system and found my way around, I really enjoyed going all over the city.”

Miller’s team is the first franchise to win back-to-back regular season titles in NFL Europe. The Thunder now has a chance to defend its World Bowl title from last year.

Berlin (7-3) finished the regular season yesterday with a 17-13 loss to Cologne in a game in which many starters played sparingly. The team will play Amsterdam this coming Saturday in the World Bowl.

“This is definitely the next level,” Miller says. “Many of these guys were drafted and are on (NFL) teams. Most of them were the best at their college and all expect to be pros for a long time. It is very professional and teams don’t seem to have many weaknesses.”

Miller has enjoyed reconnecting with Logan — his former East Carolina coach — who has helped the rookie learn the ropes of the European league.

“It has been great being with Coach Logan,” Miller said. “He has been really helpful in so many ways and he really cares about the players and their futures. He has quickly become one of the favorites here for many reasons, and for me it has been nice to see him in a more relaxed atmosphere.

"He is a guy that gains more and more respect from me every day that I am involved with him. The quarterbacks have raved about him here.”

Logan’s starting QB, Dave Ragone, was already familiar to the former Pirate coach. Ragone, who played against the Pirates during his days at Louisville, has been dominant as the best quarterback in NFL Europe this season. He played just three series in the Cologne loss in preparation for the World Bowl.

This is the second straight season the Thunder’s quarterback has led the league. Logan tutored New England Patriot prospect Rohan Davey, who emerged as the league’s best quarterback last season at Berlin.

Another former Pirate has joined Miller and Logan in Berlin this season. Sean Rose, who also left ECU in 2002, has been a starter on the Thunder’s offensive line.

As for Miller, who kicked his season long 48-yarder on Sunday, the NFL Europe experience has renewed his hopes of playing on Sundays this fall.

Since leaving ECU he has kept his dream alive while continuing to live in Greenville, putting his communications degree to work on a part-time basis for Talk 1070 and Cable 7. He has also caddied on the PGA tour for close friend Cameron Yancey.

Miller, who may still have a golf career of his own if football does not work out, also qualified and played in the US Amateur last fall.

Just before getting signed by Seattle and being allocated to NFL Europe, Miller had planned to go back on the PGA Tour this season to caddy for Greenville golf buddy Will McKenzie.

McKenzie credits Miller with helping him get through qualifying school in February. But the lure of kicking professionally was too great and Miller took the deal with the Seahawks and headed across the big pond.

“I think this season has done a lot for me’, says Miller. “I am in the game now so to speak. Seattle is a long shot for me (this fall), but everyone else will see this film and I have proved I can kick at this level. I am mostly excited about the improvement on my kickoffs. That will be the biggest reason that I may get a shot from someone.”

The World Bowl will provide Miller with the biggest stage of his career this Saturday. He is hoping it will be the chance to turn the heads of some other NFL scouts whose teams are in need of a productive kicking specialist.

“This has been a wonderful experience and has done a lot for my confidence”, said Miller. “I am excited about the possibilities in training camp this fall.”

Berlin will face the Amsterdam Admirals in the World Bowl this Saturday at noon. The game will be televised live in the United States by the Fox Network.


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02/23/2007 10:16:23 AM

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