Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller said a year ago he hoped his first “pass rush summit” would turn into an annual event for those who chase down NFL quarterbacks for a living.
And now Miller has finalized a second summit for some of the league’s marquee defensive players, this time June 27-29 at Big Cedar Lodge in Ridgedale, Missouri — just south of Branson. Miller held the first version of what was a quickly organized pass-rushers’ convention a year ago, at Stanford.
“I’ve got some guys coming already,” Miller said Tuesday after the Broncos’ on-field work in the second week of OTAs. “Some guys said they were coming, but I don’t want to say their names yet. You know how it is, got big-money guys … when they commit to something two months out.”
What started as simply an attempt for Atlanta Falcons defensive end Vic Beasley and Miller to work together had sprung into the first summit, essentially out of the rather heady contact list in Miller’s ever-busy smartphone. This time, Miller said he got a head start on the planning, but the organizational principles remain the same.
“I just call guys from around the league. It’s a small fraternity of the guys,” Miller said. “… Justin Houston, I just call him and tell him to invite Dee Ford and the other guys. Andre Branch with the Miami Dolphins, I just call him and tell him to invite all the guys. Arik Armstead and Cassius Marsh with the San Francisco 49ers, they were already there last year, tell them to invite the other guys.
“You put the word out, it’s just like the Justice League,” Miller added. “They just come out of nowhere.”
Miller said he believes the idea can continue to grow as defensive players could begin to do what quarterbacks and wide receivers around the league have done for years with a variety of passing camps.
“It’s a great space where we can share knowledge — it’s the only place where you can do that,” Miller said. “It’s the only place where you can get Khalil Mack and Vic Beasley in the same spot, other than the Pro Bowl, and talk about just straight pass rushing … what it takes to be a great pass-rusher. … It’s great for everybody around.”
Among the former players Miller expects to attend are DeMarcus Ware, Miller’s former teammate and mentor with the Broncos, as well as Hall of Famer Warren Sapp.
Miller has consistently credited Ware and Elvis Dumervil, who was with the Broncos when Miller was selected in the 2011 draft, with “showing me what it takes to be great” and that he hopes to do the same with other players.
An avid outdoorsman, Miller said he had, with the help of Bass Pro Shops, planned some fishing during the players’ time in Missouri.