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Still in pain after grisly 2017 knee injury, Bears TE Zach Miller retires

Chicago Bears tight end Zach Miller celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Ravens in 2017. | Nick Wass/Associated Press

Last week, tight end Zach Miller said he wasn’t ready to retire, but he was clear-eyed about the long odds to resume his playing career.

On Tuesday, Miller made it official, retiring from the sport 537 days since he dislocated his left knee trying to catch a pass against the Saints. The dislocation cut the artery that delivered blood to his lower left leg. Only decisive medical care saved his leg from amputation. Nine surgeries since have improved his quality of life.

“To the city of Chicago, my beloved Bears fans and NFL fans everywhere . . . the time has come to move on from playing the game of football,” Miller wrote on Instagram. “It has been an incredible journey for myself and my entire family, and we can’t thank you enough for your continued support.

“I would love more than anything to step on Soldier Field one last time, but I physically cannot give the game and our fans what they deserve.”

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Miller, 34, went on to thank Bears chairman George McCaskey, his teammates, coaches and fans.

He spent last season on the Bears’ physically unable-to-perform list while he rehabilitated his leg. He caught 101 passes for 1,161 yards and 11 touchdowns with the Bears from 2015 to 2017 and finishes his career with 146 receptions for 1,631 yards and 15 touchdowns.

When Miller was given the team’s Ed Block Courage Award last week, he said that it still hurt to jog and described his nerve issues as a “new normal.” He admitted he was lucky to be standing on two feet. And he vowed to make a decision soon.

“I can’t hold it hostage forever,” he said. “And I don’t plan to. But there are some things I need to try to do physically and see if it’s possible.”