Von Miller to attend NFL draft
Chadiha: Maximum Overdrive
After linebacker Von Miller turned off the cruise control, he accelerated to the top of the draft class, Jeffri Chadiha writes. Story
Texas A&M linebacker Von Miller, who is the only rookie plaintiff in the players' antitrust lawsuit against the NFL, has accepted an invitation to attend the draft April 28.
"I'm honored to get an invitation and I plan on being there," Miller said. "It's always been a dream of mine, having my name called and being able to walk across the stage and shake the hand of the commissioner."
Florida offensive lineman Mike Pouncey also said he accepted a draft invite.
Miller felt there was no conflict or hypocrisy in his decision to enjoy the NFL draft festivities, courtesy of the league, despite the owners' lockout of players.
2011 NFL Draft
"It doesn't change my stance with current NFL players," Miller said. "This is just separating the personal from the business. Personally, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to fulfill a dream that my mom and dad, myself and my family can enjoy a very emotional day. But I still plan on being there for the players in trying to get this lockout lifted."
Miller said he will attend next Thursday's hearing in St. Paul, Minn., before U.S. District Court Judge Susan Nelson as players seek a preliminary injunction to end the lockout.
"I want to be in the courtroom to show my support and conviction -- I want to play the game I love," Miller said. "It was great to be asked to be part of the lawsuit, to join an elite group of guys. For them to ask me, it was a huge surprise but I look on it as a blessing from God."
Miller is one of 10 players who have their names on the antitrust lawsuit. The other nine NFL players are: New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady; Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning; New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees; San Diego Chargers receiver Vincent Jackson; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Ben Leber and defensive end Brian Robison; New England guard Logan Mankins; New York Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora; and Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Mike Vrabel.
Miller said his agents, David Dunn and Joby Branion, have been supportive of both decisions -- to sue the league and to attend the draft, despite sentiment from some players that it would be hypocritical to shake commissioner Roger Goodell's hand when Miller's name is called. He also said he had received no pressure from the NFL Players Association, which will sponsor receptions before and after the draft.
"My agents have been great and I have not been pressured by anybody," Miller said. "They have kept me informed and they always felt it was my decision. I've got great parents and we discussed both things -- the legal part and the draft part -- and they're behind me 100 percent."
Chris Mortensen is ESPN's senior NFL analyst.