Despite a rocky rookie season, New York Jets cornerback Dee Milliner is upbeat about how he finished the year.
"It's always going to be tougher than you expected," Miller acknowledged at his football camp in Alabama. "All the places, even in high school, it was tougher than I expected because you expected to just go out and play. It takes hard work, getting up early in the morning or staying up late at night to do the extra things while everybody else is in the house.
"My first year in the NFL. Yeah, I never thought it would go like it went. But it was great, it just started off rough. I expected to have a better year but I finished the way that I wanted to play the whole year so I felt great about that. Coming into this year, that's what I'm trying to do. The way I finished, I want it to be like that the whole year, be consistent in my play."
Drafted ninth overall, Milliner was limited by shoulder, calf and hamstring injuries. He was also benched three times by coach Rex Ryan.
He faced a lot of scrutiny from media and fans.
"I look at it sometimes, most of the time I don't," he said. "People around me will tell me what they're saying in the media or what fans are saying, but I don't take it as a bad thing. I just keep trying to work and do what I can do and control my part. But I know it can be rough because fans are fans – they want to see you play great, they want to see touchdowns, they want to see great plays. But I still love the fans. They're what make the game fun. We've got fans that are crazy about the game."
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Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun