Former Bears tight end-turned-country music artist Zach Miller will perform twice this weekend in Chicago—at the Miller Lite Bears Draft Party Friday night at Soldier Field and at Joe’s on Weed Street Saturday night.
Miller has released three songs with a fourth expected in late May. His first single, "How Ya Like Us Now," came out last May and is an upbeat song that was inspired by those in his small town who doubted he would ever reach the NFL. He estimates that he's written a total of about 50 songs.
Miller, who grew up in Weston, Nebraska, a village with about 300 residents, played six NFL seasons—three with the Jaguars and three with the Bears.
Miller's other songs are titled "I was Hoping" and "Torn Up." The one that's scheduled to be released later this spring is "All Gas No Brakes." He records his songs in Nashville at Dark River Studios, which is owned by his friend, Colt Capperrune.
Miller's first two live performances came last May at The Good Life Sports Bar and Grill near his home in Omaha. He has since opened for national acts such as the Eli Young Band, Brantley Gilbert, Chase Rice, Parker McCollum and Lanco. Miller will open for David Nail Saturday night at Joe's on Weed Street.
Miller traveled a unique path to the NFL. A quarterback at Nebraska-Omaha, he was immediately converted to tight end after being selected by the Jaguars in the sixth round of the 2009 draft. His only experience at his new position in college came in the Cactus Bowl, a Division II all-star game.
Miller appeared in 66 games with 33 starts over three seasons with the Jaguars, catching 45 passes for 470 yards and four touchdowns. But he missed the next three years due primarily to injuries.
Miller revitalized his career with the Bears in 2015, catching 34 passes for 439 yards and five touchdowns. He followed in 2016 with 47 receptions for 486 yards and four TDs. But midway through the 2017 season, he sustained a devastating injury during a game in New Orleans that nearly cost him his leg and ended his NFL career.
Looking to fill a significant void without football in his life, Miller turned to music—and especially enjoys performing live in front of a crowd.
"It's probably the closest thing you can get to the feeling I had playing football," Miller said. "And then you get a connection. I actually prefer the stripped-down sets where you can tell stories and connect with people. That's where I feel music the most. But there's also something to be said when you've got a full band and it's a party and you can feel the energy in the room.
"The biggest thing that I love about it is just feeling the energy from the crowd. You can connect in different ways than you did in football. Football's kind of like a disconnected thing. You feel the energy from the crowd, but you're not connected. I can't look into the crowd and see people's reactions and see their faces and how they're feeling."
THE BIGGEST BEARS PARTY OF THE YEAR
There's no offseason for the Bears, and this year we're celebrating an historic offseason with the whole family. We'll get together for THE MOMENT we welcome the newest Bears into the family. Join us at Soldier Field for the 2023 Miller Lite Chicago Bears Draft Party, and spend night 1 of the Draft with thousands of your closest friends.
We'll have non-stop Draft coverage and analysis, plus the spring's best party with activities across the Dr Pepper Patio, the Miller Lite Midway, the Verizon Mezzanine and on the field. Tickets for this year's Draft Party are currently sold out. Check back for updated information between now and April 27th. If further tickets become available, you'll hear about it here first.