For the first time in his football career, Lamar Miller won't be playing in his hometown of Miami. Instead of being able to drive home and see his family, he'll be a two-hour flight away.
"It's a big change for me," Miller said Thursday's press conference. "I've been in Miami my whole life."
The change was exactly what the Texans newest running back wanted.
The 24-year-old, who grew up in Miami, signed with the Texans on Thursday as an unrestricted free agent. He attended college at the University of Miami, played for the Hurricanes, and was drafted by the Dolphins as a fourth-round selection (97th overall) in 2012. Now he begins a new chapter in his career nearly 1200 miles away from what has been home his entire life.
"I just wanted a new start," Miller said. "I feel like with this offense and this organization, I feel like we could do a lot of great things. I just want to be a part of something very special."
Last season, Miller's best performance came against Houston when he recorded over 200 yards from scrimmage (175 rushing, 61 receiving) and a pair of touchdowns. He would have been happy with more opportunities to carry the ball, but his volume of carries maxed out at 20 attempts (Week 13 against Baltimore).
Houston's penchant for running the ball was one of the factors that swayed Miller into signing with the Texans. While the Dolphins ranked last at No. 32 in rushing attempts in 2015 (344), the Texans ranked fifth in the NFL (472) with an average of 29.5 rushing attempts per game.
"I've been following Houston for a while now," Miller said. "I know in this offense, they get their running backs involved. I just wanted to be a part of that. I feel like with my skill set, I can help this offense."
In 2015, Miller rushed for 872 yards, averaging 4.5 yards per carry, and added a career-high 47 receptions for 397 yards. The former Hurricanes All-ACC track star brings speed to the Texans offense (he ran a 4.40 at the NFL Combine) and is capable of more, according to General Manager Rick Smith.
"As it relates to Lamar, the one thing you can't coach is speed and I don't want to say that's just all he offers, and all he brings to the table," Smith said. "This guy is a complete running back, and I just think he has a skill set that will allow our creative coaches to utilize him in a way that hopefully is a threat to defenses."
Over the past two seasons (2014-15), Miller's rushing yardage total (1,971) ranks fourth in the NFL and his 16 rushing touchdowns rank third. Miller is one of only two players in the league to record 8-or-more rushing touchdowns in each of those years. He has also started 42 consecutive games, which is the third-longest streak among active NFL running backs.
Check out a collection of the best shots from RB Lamar Miller's football career.