THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – For new Rams outside linebacker Von Miller, Monday was a bittersweet feeling – one he compared to removing a splinter.
"At first, it hurts, it hurts bad," Miller said during his introductory press conference Wednesday. "I had been there for 11 years, I don't know anything else. I was a Denver Bronco, and they told me I was getting traded to the Rams. I hurried, said all my goodbyes, and looking my house and looking at all the memories I had there throughout 11 years, it was tough. But when I took off Tuesday morning, I had a nice view of the mountains and I told myself, 'Okay, I'm taking off a Denver Bronco, when I land, I'm a Los Angeles Ram.' When I landed, the camera crew out there, it was a warm welcome. Went straight to get the physical, came here to the facility, started meeting players. It's starting to feel good. It's starting to feel real good."
With the pain subsiding, Miller has his sights set on replicating legendary success in Los Angeles.
When asked about teaming up on a defensive front with three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald, he harkened back to a formidable time in franchise history.
"It's incredible," Miller said. "You hear stories of the Fearsome Foursome, and you hear stories of this legendary defense, and we want to recreate that. They've been playing great defense all year, and I just want to add to that. I want to add some of the things I do best – my leadership, my energy, my positive vibes. I just want to contribute to a winning team. It will be fun."
Miller joins a Rams defense that has a league-leading 25 sacks through the first eight games, led by outside linebacker Leonard Floyd's team-high 6.5. Miller has 4.5 sacks in seven games so far this season, giving him 110.5 for his career – most since entering the league in 2011. Similarly, Donald's 90.5 sacks are most since entering the league in 2014.
"I think it just puts you on the clock that much more," said Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford, when asked about now accounting Miller on top of the rest of the Rams defense from a quarter's perspective. "I know our defensive coaches will find creative ways to scheme those guys up to try to create one-on-ones and create headaches in the pass protection stuff for offenses. I know those guys are going to enjoy playing off of each other, I know that. Whoever gets a single is going to be expected to win, I know they're going to be challenging each other, and it will be fun to watch."
When it comes to Miller's usage, Rams head coach Sean McVay said the goal is to see how quickly Miller gets up to speed – a combination of his health and his comfort level with different personnel packages the Rams will utilize based on their gameplan. But there's no denying Miller's impact.
"We definitely feel like adding Von Miller to the mix upgrades our team without a doubt and we haven't played a single snap with Von yet," McVay said.
At this point in the process of getting adjusted to his new team, Miller said "it's just all mental."
For nearly nine-and-a-half seasons, he wore blue and orange and the number 58. Now, the number 40 and royal and sol.
"Forty, it looks weird, but it feels right, man," Miller said. "Being here with all of these guys, man, it's really a dream come true. The Denver Broncos, they definitely did me right by sending me to such a legendary franchise with a legendary team."