Just two days removed from an exciting watershed moment in Denver Broncos history in which George Paton was hired as the new general manger, the team had to confront a public-relations landmine involving its most famous player.
9NEWS' Mike Klis reported Friday that star rush linebacker Von Miller is currently the subject of a criminal investigation by the Parker Police Department in Colorado. The Parker PD confirmed to 9NEWS that a criminal probe into Miller is underway but would not comment on the nature of it.
The disconcerting news comes little more than a week removed from Miller's significant other sharing screenshots of private conversations with the eight-time Pro Bowler that, let's just say, cast him in a very unflattering light. He later responded with a comment on an Instagram story implying the screenshots, and the interpretation thereof, were "fake news."
While some have been quick to jump to conclusions in the immediate aftermath of the Parker PD's criminal probe, Me'Gan Denise — Miller's pregnant girlfriend — released a statement via her Instagram account on Friday to say emphatically that there any rumor of domestic violence on her boyfriend's part is false.
"In light of recent media reports regarding my relationship with Von, I feel that I need to address a couple things,'' Denise wrote. "First and foremost, at no point in our relationship was there any type of physical abuse or violence by Von, whatsoever. For anyone to say otherwise, or speculate such, is wrong.
"With regards to my (previous) social media posts, a part was misconstrued and taken out of context. I do regret making a private situation public, and in doing so, bringing unwanted attention to both Von and myself.
"Von and I are excited to be welcoming our baby into the world, and are committed to raising our child with love and compassion, together as a family.
Sincerely, Megan Denise."
Obviously, any criminal probe into a player of Miller's caliber and importance to Broncos canon is worrisome but it's important to remember that he has not been charged with anything at this point. The best tack for Broncos Country to take is to allow the Parker PD to do its job and let the investigation play out before jumping to any conclusions.
However, the timing of this criminal probe into Miller is very inopportune. Reports have emerged in the wake of Paton's hiring as GM that the Broncos are likely to approach Miller about a contract restructure. Paton reportedly would like Miller back but not at his current $17.5 million price tag.
Miller will turn 32 years old in March and is coming off a 2020 season lost entirely to an ankle injury that required corrective surgery. Entering the final year of the contract that made him the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history back in 2016, the Broncos hold a team option. That means that the Broncos have the prerogative to either exercise, or pick up, Miller's option, or let him go.
If the team didn't pick up Miller's option, he'd be a free agent unrestricted to sign with any outside NFL team. The Broncos might be inclined to negotiate with the former Super Bowl 50 MVP in hopes of him either accepting a pay-cut or working out some sort of contract extension that would lower his 2021 salary-cap hit and give him additional years on the term.
Paton is expected to be in Denver on Saturday. Instead of interviewing the holdover front office and scouting personnel, the first-time GM will have to confront a massive drama involving the Broncos' all-time leader in sacks. Following the news of the Parker PD's investigation, the team released a statement on Friday to 9NEWS.
For now, all the team can do is gather as much information on the situation as possible and let things play out. The fan base should take its cues from there.
Again, at the time of press, we do not know why Miller is being investigated and based on Denise's social-media statement, his significant other has adamantly denied that any sort of physical abuse has taken place. For now, we're in a holding pattern until further information is revealed.