Bears tight end Zach Miller has been named the 2017 winner of the "Good Guy" award presented by the Chicago chapter of the Professional Football Writers of America.
The nine-year veteran was presented the award Thursday based on his professionalism, courtesy and respect during the 2017 season.
"Cool award for me," Miller told reporters. "I understand kind of the challenges that come along with all your guys' jobs. It's somewhat challenging for me at times when I've got to look you guys in the face after a loss and try and answer those questions. But I appreciate it. You guys have always treated me well and done a great job helping me share my story for a very long time, so thank you."
Miller continues to recover from a devastating knee injury he suffered Oct. 29 against the Saints in New Orleans. He sustained a dislocated knee and torn popliteal artery while catching an apparent 25-yard touchdown pass from Mitchell Trubisky that was later reversed to an incomplete pass following a replay review.
See photos from practice during week 16 at Halas Hall as the Bears prepare to face the Browns on Sunday, December 24.
Miller was rushed to the University Medical Center in New Orleans, where he underwent emergency vascular surgery. Bears doctors and trainers helped save his leg by quickly diagnosing a vascular issue that required immediate attention.
Miller said that he first gained an appreciation for working with reporters when he played quarterback at Nebraska-Omaha.
"That kind of helped me get up to speed with dealing with the media," Miller said. "It's just kind of personality. I like interacting with people, especially you guys, who do a great job. You're an important part of our game to be that liaison from us to the fans and stuff. I know it can be difficult at times, but that's just how it goes."
Asked why he speaks to the media after losses, Miller joked that "somebody's got to do it" before expanding on the real reason he steps to the podium.
"I understand being there to not only give you guys something but give something to our fans when things aren't going the right way," Miller said. "It's way easier after a win to do that. But it needs to be done. It's an important part of our football game. That's why I'm doing it."
The Bears honor the "Good Guy" award winner with a plaque in the media room.
"The reporters on the Bears beat have found Miller to be a stand-up man who understands his media responsibilities and is genuine in his approach," said PFWA vice president Dan Pompei. "Miller should serve as a model for players on dealing with the media."
Bears players who have won the "Good Guy" award in previous years include Josh McCown, Ryan Mundy, Matt Slauson and Tracy Porter.