The unlikely rise and unfathomable fall of Alan Miller
The American Football League (now the AFC) started in 1960 and Miller tried out for and made the Patriots as a 6-foot, 210-pound fullback. He gained 416 yards and averaged 4.1 yards per carry and also caught 29 passes. The Patriots traded him to Oakland for quarterback Babe Parelli prior to the 1961 season.
Miller played for Oakland from 1961 to '63, took 1964 to complete law school and returned in 1965. He was a starter all four seasons and played in the 1961 AFL All-Star game. The New York Daily News named him second team All-AFL in 1961.
Raiders' boss Al Davis once called Miller "pound for pound, the toughest player in the league." Famed Oakland center Jim Otto wrote in his book "The Pain of Glory" that "Alan might have been the Raiders' most intelligent player ever...he used his intelligence on the football field. He had different ways of blocking people and also getting open on pass routes."
Miller never missed a game in five AFL seasons. He averaged 3.6 yards per carry and 10.5 yards per reception, solid numbers. But his primary role in Oakland was to block for Clem Daniels, one of the league's top rushers.
"I was considered to be the best blocker in the league," Miller said.
Miller retired following the 1965 season, at 28. After graduating No. 2 in his law class at Boston University, he joined a prominent firm in Milwaukee. He also had a disabled daughter who needed more of his attention.
"My daughter needed more care and I was under pressure from my law firm to come to work full time," Miller said. "I walked away after the best year I ever had. It was the biggest mistake I ever made."
Kemp, a quarterback with the Buffalo Bills, recruited Miller to be General Counsel to the AFL Players Association. When the AFL/NFL merger was completed following the 1970 season, the two Players Associations had to be merged too. They couldn't come to a consensus picking between the two associations' leaders, the Rams' Eddie Meador and Kemp. Colts' tight end John Mackey was selected as a compromise under the condition that Miller would be General Counsel. Miller accepted and remained in the position until 1972.
Miller has never solicited clients. He began representing athletes in the mid-1970s. They ranged from Dan Dierdorf to Rusty Staub. The late IndyCar driver Scott Brayton was his first racing client and NASCAR driver Ward Burton the second.
Miller, who had a successful amateur racing career as a driver, personally represents Herb Fishel, the retired former head of General Motors racing programs. Fishel had spotted Jimmie Johnson when he was racing in the Mickey Thompson Off-Road stadium series in California as a teenager and signed him to a GM contract.
Fishel asked Miller to guide Johnson's career.
"Herb introduced me to Jimmie at an off-road truck race and within a year or two, Jimmie had become like a son to me," Miller said. "Jimmie was living in Milwaukee. He wanted to get to pavement racing. He'd met the Herzog Brothers in off-road and they wanted to get to pavement racing. I went to Milwaukee, negotiated and bought an ASA [stock car] team for them."
With the Herzogs, Johnson advanced to NASCAR's Nationwide Series and into Cup in 2002. Miller has negotiated all of Johnson's contracts and they remain close.
When Miller was indicted last fall, Johnson was stunned.
"It's certainly shocking," Johnson said. "Alan has been my attorney since I was 15. He's been a great friend and has helped me with a lot of different things. I have an outside tax group that I use, so he really is my attorney. He has respected my thoughts and me as a driver as though he was a parent of some sort. He has really done a phenomenal job for me. I've never seen anything out of character from him."
Johnson could be speaking for all of Miller's clients and friends. It is up to a jury to decide, but everyone who knows or has worked with Alan Miller understands that breaking the law would be completely out of character.