Former Illini LB Miller slimming down for NFL By Mark Tupper firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.pantagraph.com/articles/2009/04/24/usports/doc49f13bd65bb05287190750.txt CHAMPAIGN -- After working hard to lose weight and tighten a tummy even he calls “kind of chubby,” Brit Miller allowed himself a mouth-watering treat Wednesday night. He bit into a burrito, and a big one at that. “I haven’t been doing that, but I decided tonight I’d let it go,” said the former Illini middle linebacker from Decatur. He just had to do something to cut the tension. Miller said he has had a string of restless nights lately, the nervousness and anxiety building toward this weekend’s NFL Draft. He may or may not be picked during the latter rounds on Sunday and he has all but given up trying to guess. “My stock has been rising on the Web sites and the Raiders have said if I’m still there in the sixth round, they’re going to take me,” Miller said. “I don’t know if I believe that, but it’s nice to hear. I don’t know how much of what these teams are saying is the truth or just chatter. “It’s like being recruited all over again. There are a whole bunch of unknowns.” Despite a senior season that was productive on defense and outstanding on special teams, Miller himself emerged as a bit of an unknown in the eyes of NFL teams. Ask him and he’ll tell you he was stereotyped as too short, too heavy and, pro teams assumed, too slow. “They pegged me as a guy who would run the 40 (yard dash) in 4.8 (seconds),” Miller said, incredulously. “I’ve never been that slow in my life.” Then, given one day to dispel those perceptions as pro talent evaluators huddled with their stop watches, Miller felt he delivered. “The Bears’ scouts had me at 4.57 and 4.52 in the 40,” Miller said. “I ran so many times and counted my steps so many times, you just know when you’re in the 4.5s. But even on the Web sites my times are posted as much higher than that, which is kind of bewildering.” One might not think Brit Miller would have to do anything to erase perceptions following a senior year in which he led the Illini in tackles (132), tackles for loss (15.5) and tied for the team lead in sacks (6). He also was the team’s most effective special teams performer. But he played with 255 pounds stuffed into his 6-foot frame and the pros prefer a taller, leaner look. “I was comfortable playing at that weight in college,” Miller said. “But with my body type, I can’t be 255 and all muscle. I’m not built for it. I knew I could be successful in college at that weight, but now, as I get ready for another job, I’ve changed my body.” After the season, Miller moved to the Chicago area and began working out with EFT Sports Performance, a group that trains a number of pro athletes including the Chicago Bears’ Tommie Harris and Lance Briggs. When Miller weighed himself Wednesday, he checked in at 242 pounds. Miller’s Illini teammate, cornerback Vontae Davis, hopes to have his name called in the first round on Saturday. Miller knows that won’t be the case with him, so he’ll be at the Illini spring game in Memorial Stadium. If he gets a call in a later round, great. And if he does not, he and his agent, Chicago-based Ken Sarnoff, have already been in touch with teams regarding a free agent contract.