On Christmas Eve, Matt Millen had a new heart put in his body to replace the old, failing one.
Saturday, he was back in the broadcast booth, talking about the spring game at his alma mater, Penn State.
“I never thought anything about not doing this,” Millen joked, via Audrey Snyder of The Athletic. “I just don’t think you should put limits on yourself. Now, I understand everybody is in different places mentally and physically — I get all that — but when you are in a place where you can do it, don’t put it off. Go do it. Make yourself do it. Is it painful? Yeah. Get a little comfortable with being uncomfortable. I’m OK with that.”
His friends at work made sure he felt comfortable, including a heart-shaped cake, and there was a steady stream of well-wishers throughout the day. When they flashed his face on the video board, fans turned toward the booth to salute him, drawing the biggest cheers of the afternoon, as he waved back with a thumbs up. But the longtime NFL linebacker and Lions team president was anything but comfortable at times.
“Would you guys quit embarrassing me all the time,” Millen said on the broadcast. “My goodness. You guys shouldn’t do this, we’re here to talk about a football game. . . . What the heck would they care about me for? I’m some stiff from Hokendauqua, Pennsylvania.”
He means more than that to many, as evidenced by the reaction on the first of what is hopefully many days back.