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Miller's first NFL TD raised his expectations


Anthony Miller's first NFL touchdown Monday night against the Seahawks was like a tasty appetizer; he savored it for a moment and it left him hungry for more.

"Scoring that touchdown, it just raised my expectations for myself," the Bears rookie receiver said Friday. "I just feel like I can contribute to this team in a big way, and I think that's what you're going to see as this season continues to go on."

Miller's first trip into the end zone came early in the fourth quarter on a 10-yard pass from Mitchell Trubisky and gave the Bears a 17-3 lead en route to a 24-17 win.

The confident receiver certainly wasn't surprised to score, not after catching 32 touchdown passes in his final two seasons at Memphis. Miller also believes that's exactly what the Bears envisioned when they traded up to select him in the second round of this year's draft at No. 51 overall.

"That's why they picked me to come here," said Miller, who has four receptions for 25 yards in the first two games. "They didn't pick me to come here to be on the scout team not contributing at all. They expected me to play right away, make plays and do what I did in college, and that's what I plan to do."

Miller arrived at Memphis as a walk-on and eventually earned a scholarship. He blossomed as a junior in 2016, setting school records with 95 receptions, 1,434 yards and 14 touchdowns. His encore was even better in 2017 when he eclipsed all three of those marks with 96 catches, 1,462 yards and 18 TDs.

Before the draft, Miller penned a powerful letter to NFL general managers on "The Players Tribune" about why they should pick him.

"My name is Anthony Miller, and I think I'm the best wide receiver in this draft class," Miller wrote, stressing that he should be drafted due to "something that's inside of me" that "can't be measured with a stopwatch or scale."

"It's hard for me to imagine another person who loves football as much as I do," he continued. "Football isn't just a sport for me. This is my identity. And I plan to have a really, really long career. Hopefully it will be for your team."

Miller's confidence and passion for the game has been evident to teammates since the day he arrived at Halas Hall.

"Anthony Miller is a ballplayer," Trubisky said. "I kind of learned about where he grew up and how he got here, and he earned everything that he has gotten up to this point. He works his tail off at practice. He loves this game. And he plays with a chip on his shoulder.

"I haven't seen anyone in a while who gets in and out of cuts like him. He just has that mentality that nobody can guard him. I love that as a quarterback, seeing that in your receivers. Our whole receivers room is developing that mentality; that it doesn't matter what coverage they play, who they're lining up out there, we're going to get open.

"Anthony has been great and a huge addition to this offense."

Miller's first NFL touchdown was special; he plans to give the ball to his mother. But the Bears rookie intends on making several return trips to the end zone.

"It meant a lot," Miller said. "It's a moment I'll never forget. But that's a moment I've got to forget right now because there are more plays to make, more touchdowns to get."