For Jets safety Rontez Miles, Steelers tattoo is about his ‘roots’

Rontez Miles
Rontez Miles has earned ribbing from teammates over his Steelers tattoo.
Credit: Kristian Dyer

Two weeks ago, Jets safety Rontez Miles was walking out of the team’s facility when he heard head coach Rex Ryan’s voice behind him. Miles slowed down to walk out the door with his head coach.

An undrafted rookie free agent out of Division II California (Pa.) in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference, Miles has spent this season shuttling between the practice squad and the Jets’ active roster. He’s a hard-hitting safety with plenty of potential even if he lacks the pedigree of a big college on his resume. But Miles created a national stir this past April when cameras at the NFL Combine caught a big Steelers tattoo on his upper left arm.

Born and raised on the outskirts of Pittsburgh, Miles got the tattoo as a freshman in college. When it came time to run the 40-yard dash at the combine, he took off his warm-up jacket to reveal a sleeveless shirt and his Steelers tattoo.

The camera crews rushed up to get a shot of the tattoo. He hadn’t even thought about it when he took his jacket off.

“If it could come off magically, with a rub off, I’d have did it. It will be there forever,” Miles told Metro. “People never look down and see the bridge or the ’412.’ It is about my roots. It blew up in the combine. It was blowing all the way up. People kept saying, ‘Oh he got a tattoo so the Steelers would draft him.’ That wasn’t the case.”

As Miles got ready to head to his car, he and Ryan spoke on the way out. He had heard the jokes about the tattoo from his first day at the Jets facility. Ryan and defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman gave him a good ribbing. Even his teammates at the time, many of whom never made the team, made jokes about it.

The Steelers tattoo is set over the skyline of his beloved Pittsburgh. There’s a bridge and the ’412′ area code for the city. Even though Miles has yet to play in a game, Ryan still remembered the ink on Miles’ left arm.

“He said, ‘You are going to get on this field soon; we have to do something about the tattoo,’” Miles said. “But it was a joke, he laughed it off. I said, ‘If I can get on this field, I would do anything to get this tattoo off.’”

He said he hasn’t been asked to remove the tattoo by Ryan, who himself has a tattoo of his wife wearing the jersey of quarterback Mark Sanchez on his upper right shoulder.

“If they asked me to wear a sleeve on my arm to cover it up or something like that, of course I would,” Miles said. “That’s just about respect right there and I’d definitely do that.”

Actual removal of the tattoo, he said, would be too expensive and too painful.

“If we won the Super Bowl, I’d get a Jets tattoo. Or if I get an extended contract for eight years, then yeah,” Miles said. “Football is going to fade away but this is my roots. I can look back on this, wherever I am, and remember where I came from, who I am.”

Miles points to his left arm.

“I love everything about Pittsburgh — all the sports. I grew up watching the Steelers,” Miles said. “I like the Penguins; I like the Pirates. I even like the Pittsburgh Power, our arena team. It really has nothing to do with the team. It is about roots.

“I’ve got new roots now. I look forward to establishing new ones and maybe new traditions.”

And maybe a tattoo for the team that pays his salary as well.

“Yeah, we will see. I’d love to be here awhile. This is a great locker room. Rex is a great coach,” Miles said. “I can’t rule it out. I hope I’m here a long time. I hope this becomes part of who I am.”

Miles then rolls down his left sleeve and puts on his jacket and heads out of the locker room. He’s in New York now and he has a defensive meeting with the rest of his Jets teammates.

Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
International

Terrorism could spread to US and Europe in…

Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah said terrorism would soon spread to Europe and the United States unless it is quickly dealt with in the Middle East,…

National

Ex-Bitcoin official to plead guilty to Silk Road…

Bitcoin entrepreneur Charlie Shrem has reached a plea deal to resolve U.S. charges that he engaged in a scheme to sell over $1 million of…

International

China's army changes tactics to prepare for war…

Chinese President Xi Jinping has said China will spur military innovation and called on the army to create a new strategy for "information warfare" as…

National

California passes 'yes-means-yes' campus sexual assault bill

Californian lawmakers passed a law on Thursday requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on…

Gossip

Joan Rivers on life support: Report

TMZ reports that comedian Joan Rivers has been placed on life support, "completely reliant on machines to stay alive." Rivers has been hospitalized since she…

Movies

What's new on Netflix in September

September has a supernatural theme for Netflix. UFO "documentaries" and the survivalist reality series "Doomsday Preppers" are among the new series coming to the online…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Wellbeing

VIDEO: Still not wearing sunscreen? You will after…

Sunscreen is possibly the most often repeated - and ignored - piece of skincare advice. But Thomas Leveritt took a different tactic. With a short…

Food

Twitter used to track down sources of food…

When Chicago health officials saw Twitter users complaining about local food poisoning episodes, they reached out on Twitter to those users and often ended up…

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…