NFL Former Player, Billy Miller
Avoided Major Fall, Letting God Wow Him On and Off the Field
By the third year of his football career, Billy Miller was living recklessly, partying and spending money, trying to keep up with the older guys. How he caught himself before a major fall, and transformed his life to one of focus and purpose, is an inspiring story.
Billy spent the majority of his childhood in South Central LA. He saw his first shooting at age five; his first dead body at eight. Growing up, he was always on guard.
Billy’s father, a passionate football fan, told Billy from the time he was very young that he was going to play in the NFL one day. This was a dream and a goal that helped him to stay on the right path. His Dad’s constant reminders that his life would be better gave Billy confidence and helped him develop the inner strength and insight to make the right choices.
In his freshman year of high school, Billy’s family moved to West Lake Village, California. This took Billy from one extreme to another. Billy is half white and half black. In South Central, he was considered the only white guy in town. In West Lake Village, he was considered one of a very few black guys.
Billy’s new environment was life-changing. He spent much of his time with people doing positive things. He was mentored by good coaches. He experienced stability and a newfound confidence, especially in his athletic abilities.
In his junior year, his parents decided they were moving back to LA. Thanks to his high school football coach, Jim Benkert, and the parents of his best friend, Steve Aylsworth, who became his “second parents”, Billy was able to continue living in West Lake and remain in high school there. That saved Billy’s career, and most likely his life.
At the end of a notable college career, Billy was picked by the Denver Broncos in the seventh round of the draft. He spent half of his first season in the NFL on the practice squad. His father passed away as he was going into his second year. He began behaving recklessly to dull the pain. Sadly, he didn’t take his work seriously and was cut in his third year. It was a huge learning experience.
After a year off, he went to the Houston Texans. He played well, but was released after three years. Although troubled by stress fractures in his ankle, he was stubborn about continuing to play, and landed in Cleveland, where he tried to hide his injuries. He lasted about eight weeks until the pain became unmanageable.
After healing, he was approached by the New Orleans Saints, where he’s spent few years there until being put on injured reserve.
Billy grew up in the NFL, and, as he matured, his outlook on life changed dramatically, due to a pivotal event that took place while he was in Houston. Thanks to the gentle but firm insistence of three time All-American Tony Boselli, a member of the Houston team, who encouraged Billy and his wife Rachael to attend a Bible study, they became practicing Christians. Billy is certain that this step has averted the disasters that could have come from his many trials. His life has changed 100% for the better, and he will always be grateful.
Thanks to the lessons learned from his many challenging experiences, Billy knew that he needed to think about life after football, and how he’d support himself and his family. The idea for his business started during his brief stay with the Cleveland Browns.
Billy put his passions for sports and kids together and created Elite Performance Factory in his adopted hometown of West Lake. Elite Performance Factory teaches kids the value of sports and builds integrity, trust and respect. The facility serves athletes at all levels, from NFL, NBA and baseball professionals to college athletes preparing to go pro, all the way down to about the eighth grade. The younger athletes are able to see how these pros work, and how much it takes to actually get to the next level. It’s a tremendous learning tool.
He takes the same drive, compassion and resilience he applies to the NFL and pours that into Elite Performance Factory— to not only make great athletes, but to make great people.
Billy gives his mother a lot of credit for shaping his approach to life. And, he sees every day as a growth opportunity to become a better husband and father to Caine, Jaden and Celeste.
Billy Miller’s down to earth perspective, his kindness, his passion for kids and sports, his steadfast faith and willingness to grow make him the perfect addition to our Insightful Player® roster!
Instant replay of Billy’s guiding principles:
Set goals that are so compelling that they catapult you out of bed each day.
Push yourself every day to be your very best, and never let up. Strive to be an example of positive change and growth regardless of your environment
Choose your friends wisely. Surround yourself with people who want to make something of their lives, and who will challenge you to make something of your life
Find role models and mentors that will help you succeed. And while you’re at it, mentor someone else to succeed.
Pay close attention to the choices you make. A simple choice can determine the direction of your entire life.
Take actions that make you and the people you love feel proud.
Create a relationship with God. Put this at the center of your life and expect to be blessed with grace.
The Insightful Player® series is brought to you by Coach Chrissy Carew, Hall of Fame Master Certified Personal and Business Coach and Author of her newly released book, INSIGHTFUL PLAYER: Football Pros Lead A Bold Movement of Hope. Chrissy has been deeply inspired by her father, the late Coach Walter Carew, Sr. Her father is in several Halls of Fame as a high school football coach and baseball coach (as well as high school and college athlete). He used sports to help kids build strong character and teach them valuable life skills. The Insightful Player® initiative was created to help make our world a much better place by inspiring youth. To contact Chrissy Carew visit http://www.insightfulplayer.com or call 603-897-0610.
©2009 Insightful Player, LLC
Billy Miller is a valued member of the Insightful Player® team. To be named to this team, one must be a person of integrity, such as a current or former NFL player, who shares their personal message of hope for the sole purpose of lifting the spirits of all, especially children.