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Bears’ Zach Miller opens up about possibly retiring: ‘That’s a realistic thing’

Chicago Bears tight end Zach Miller celebrates after scoring a touchdown in the first half of an NFL football game against the Baltimore Ravens, Sunday, Oct. 15, 2017, in Baltimore. | Nick Wass/Associated Press

Former Bears coach John Fox picked up tight end Zach Miller on Wednesday morning, and they drove into the city from the suburbs. The 40-minute drive gave them a chance to catch up on everything that has happened in the last few months.

Miller described the grueling rehabilitation of his dislocated left knee with his old coach.

Fox gave Miller some advice during that car ride: “Sometimes setbacks are setups for better things to come.”

Miller doesn’t know what the future holds. He’s just trying to live in the present.

About three weeks ago, Miller’s recovery turned the corner when he ditched his crutches. For the first time since suffering a gruesome leg injury during a game against the Saints in October, Miller could walk unassisted.

“I was able to get kind of back to a normal life,” Miller said. “Things are feeling better each day, getting a little bit stronger. I’m happy where I’m at.”

But Miller still has a long road to go in his recovery, especially if he wants to play again with the Bears.

Many believed the day Miller’s left leg bent grotesquely in the end zone was the last time the 33-year-old would ever play.

Has Miller thought about retiring? Maybe a little, but he’s not ready to throw in the towel yet.

“That’s a realistic thing, I know that,” said Miller, whom the Jaguars picked in the sixth round of the 2009 draft. “I haven’t made any of those decisions as of yet. I know that there will be a point where I have to decide … but I’m not at that spot yet to determine whether I want to come back and try to play or if it’s time to move on or even if I can do that.”

Right now, the hardest thing for Miller is to watch his teammates participate in Bears minicamp, although he did stop in Wednesday morning for a brief meeting with coach Matt Nagy.

“Seeing this time of year, it’s all I’ve known for a long time,” Miller said. “But I understand the reality of the situation, and I’m happy where I’m at and where I continue to be.”

Miller said Nagy and general manager Ryan Pace have been supportive during his recovery. While they have kept him on the team for now, Miller acknowledges they’ll have to discuss his Bears future eventually.

“We’ll cross that bridge when it’s time,” Miller said, “and it’s not time yet. I’ve got a lot of work to do and a lot of ways to go to get back to playing ball, but everything is good.”