Top 50 Falcons: No. 28, Chris Miller

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution is counting down the Top 50 players in Atlanta Falcons history during the franchise’s 50th anniversary season. No. 28 quarterback Chris Miller.

Years played for Falcons: The Falcons nabbed Chris Miller 13th overall in the 1987 NFL Draft out of Oregon. He played seven years with Atlanta but injuries, predominantly concussions, would sideline him for many games and eventually force him into retirement after he suffered five concussions over a span of 14 months. He stepped away from the game after the 1995 season and attempted a comeback with the Broncos in 1999 at 34-years-old, but called it quits after another vicious blow to the head.

Falcons quarterback Chris Miller is helped off the field after being impaired by a hit. (AJC)

Jersey No.: 12

His impact on the team: After seeing little action in his 1987 rookie season, he was the Falcons primary signal caller for five seasons. He played his final season in Atlanta in 1993, appearing in three games. When healthy, the Oregon Sports Hall of Famer was one of the best to sling the ball around and is third all-time in Falcons history for touchdown passes (87) and yards (14,066). If it wasn’t for his injuries, then head coach Jerry Glanville thinks that the Falcons could have captured a Super Bowl.

On when he knew it was time to retire: “We understand that injuries are a part of the game. I was a guy who weighed 208, 210 pounds. I wasn’t super big back in the day. I got a couple really good concussions in 1995 so I had to step away from the game for three years. Then I was able to go back and play for the Denver Broncos in 1999. I started three games that year and played really well. I got hit on the head again against the Raiders on Monday Night Football and kind of went through those same symptoms so I said ok, that’s a wrap.”

On how he feels now: “I feel pretty blessed with my health and how I feel now. Hopefully I won’t have any later issues in life. I was able to play 10 years and have a solid career and made a lot of friendships and learned a lot from it and now I’m able to kind of pass that along to the youth kids I coach now.”

Where he is now: Chris Miller, 50, was the head coach for South Eugene High School in Eugene, Ore., from 2001-06. From 2009-12, he served as the quarterbacks coach for the Arizona Cardinals. In 2013, Miller returned to South Eugene as head coach for the Axemen. Currently, he is the head football coach at West Linn High School. He led the Lions to a 9-3 record in 2014, his first year, and this year West Linn is 11-1 and in the Oregon state semifinals for the third time in school history.

The countdown to the Top 50 players in Falcons history runs through the end of the season.

Top 50 Falcons Countdown

50: Chuck Smith

49: Michael Haynes

48: Jonathan Babineaux

47: John Zook

46: Ken Reaves

45: Lynn Cain

44: Justin Blalock

43: Bobby Butler

42: Tim Mazzetti

41: Buddy Curry

40: Scott Case

39: Jeff Merrow

38: Elbert Shelley

37: Matt Bryant

36: Alge Crumpler

35: Michael Turner

34: Ray Buchanan

33: Chris Hinton

32: Terance Mathis

31: Devin Hester

30: Don Smith

29: Greg Brezina

28: Chris Miller

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