CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Carolina Panthers offensive lineman John Miller spent last Sunday watching his team’s season opener against the New York Jets from his bed, still recovering from COVID-19 symptoms.
He’s hoping to get back on the field for Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Saints, although he’s not sure how much he’ll be able to play because of lingering fatigue. He said if the game were today, he could probably play about two quarters at a high level.
The 6-foot-3, 315-pound Miller said he was “pretty bad” with congestion, fatigue and diarrhea for about four days, but gradually started to feel better. Still, he said it was “pretty tough” returning to practice on Wednesday, his first work in nearly two weeks.
“I did a little conditioning, and I was like, ‘wow, my lung capacity is not what it used to be,’” Miller said. He said he felt a little better on Thursday.
Miller said he contracted the coronavirus around Labor Day weekend. Because he was unvaccinated, he had to spend 10 days on the league’s COVID-19-reserve list, forcing him to miss the Jets game, which the Panthers won 19-14.
He wouldn’t say if has been vaccinated since or if he plans to be in the future, calling it a personal decision.
But, he added, “It’s COVID and it’s out there and it’s real. It has been affecting every one of us.”
Miller said the biggest thing the battle with COVID-19 taught him was patience.
“I had a lot of time to just think and reflect about a lot of things,” Miller said. “Obviously, the most important that came up to me was just how much I love the game of football. That’s a blessing.”