With three receptions tonight against the Cleveland Browns, Pittsburgh Steelers tight end Heath Miller will surpass the great Elbie Nickel for the most receptions by a tight end in Steelers history. Miller currently has 327 for his career and Nickel had 329 during his 11 seasons with the Steelers from 1947-1957.
Nickel compiled his record amount of receptions in 131 regular season games and in a much different era. It should be noted that he was an iron man of sorts as records say he played in 125 consecutive games, a record back then. Tonight Miller will play in his 105th regular season game since being drafted by the Steelers in the 1st round of the 2005 draft out of the University of Virginia.
Although Miller will pass Nickel in catches, he still has quite a ways to go to pass him in receiving yardage, as the 329 catches that Nickel had were good for 5,131 receiving yards. That number still has him 5th place all-time in the Steelers record books. Miller enters the game tonight with 3,730 and currently sits in 10th place. Nickel still also has Miller by 6 receiving touchdowns with 37 compared to 31 thus far by Miller.
As far as Pro Bowls go, Nickel has Miller in that department in addition, as he was a three-time Pro Bowler in his day. Miller has just one to his credit at this point in his career.
Most will agree that Miller is perhaps the most underrated all-around tight end in the game today as he is on the field for all but a handful of plays each game and is a very accomplished blocker in addition. He too will go down as one of the all-time great Steelers tight ends, but if he should get the three catches tonight against the Browns, make sure you also tip your hat to Nickel, the man whose record he will break. He was a great one too.
You can read more about Nickel on the web at the links below: