INDIANAPOLIS - "Enjoy the journey. No matter the good, the bad, the ups and downs, savor the moment. Savor the flavor. Be in the present, and take it for what it is."
Nanette Miller has known about her son's desire to be an NFL star since he was 4 1/2 years old. But she didn't want that goal to get in his way of enjoying the here and now.
Nyheim Hines said it really took until last year for him mom's advice to really stick. But now that he's found that balance - being truly appreciative for the little things in life, while also staying hungry for more professional success - he can tell a clear difference.
Hines is the latest subject of the Colts Productions series "Colts Life," an episode in which you get an up-close-and-personal look at the Indianapolis Colts running back's family life in North Carolina.
You can catch the entire episode right here, with some highlights below:
» Meet Hines' family, which includes his twin sister, Nyah, his mother, Nanette, and his father, Darrin. Nyheim was born two minutes before Nyah, and he tends to remind her of this fact on a pretty consistent basis. "Every day he reminds me," Nyah said. "He'll always pull, like, the, 'I'm older' card. And I'm like, 'OK, but I'm wiser.' That's what I'll say, I'll say, 'Hey, I'm wiser.'"
» All jokes aside, you can see just how close Hines and his sister are. They trained together with their father growing up, and when it came time to choose a college, they made it clear that they were a package deal, even as Nyheim was getting serious attention from some of the better football programs in the nation. In the end, they stayed close to home by attending N.C. State together, where Nyheim was a football star, and both he and his sister found success in track and field.
"The dream was always to play football," Nyheim said. "I had offers from Clemson, Ohio State, Florida - I always liked a lot of those schools. I always thought I was going to end up going to one of those schools ... (throughout) high school everybody said, 'Nyheim you're going to go to N.C. State.' I told them, 'Absolutely not. There's no way I'm staying here and playing football.' And then somehow it kind of worked out that I stayed here, and for whatever reason God opened the door here, because when it was time to commit to a college it seemed like there was doubt at every place but here."
» You also get an inside look at the relationship between Hines and his mother, who has muscular dystrophy and has remained a constant source of inspiration for her son, especially when he knows she's in the stands cheering him on.
"By me being there I'm sure it makes him happy, being that he knows the struggles with the muscular dystrophy that I have, and by me just being there and showing up for him no matter what I'm feeling or going through, I know that makes him feel like, 'You know, my mom is here. I'm gonna play strong, I'm gonna play hard," Nanette said.
That positive attitude has certainly rubbed off on her son.
"Even with my mom: I don't know when the condition will get worse. Maybe they'll find a cure? I don't know," Hines said. "But I can give her roses - that's what she always tells me. She says, 'Give me roses now while I can smell them.' That's real things; like, you never know."
» Then you get a look into Hines' career with the Colts, which started in 2018 as a fourth-round pick and has blossomed from there. While he didn't have the most ideal of starts - he had multiple drops, fumbles and muffed returns in an early preseason opportunity as a punt returner his rookie year - he worked tirelessly at his craft to be ready once his number was called again. It all paid off last year, especially late in the year against the Carolina Panthers, when he had a record-breaking day by returning two punts for touchdowns.
"We just kept trying to reinforce that we believe in you, that we believe in your ability, you're here for a reason," Colts special teams coordinator Bubba Ventrone said. "He put the time in off the field, in the classroom, understood his weaknesses and the things that he needed to work on."
Those performances were the cherry on top to an enjoyable second season for Hines, who has truly taken his mother's advice to heart.
"People worry about the future so much they never enjoy the present," he said. "Like, my entire life I wanted to go the NFL so bad I really didn't enjoy high school like that, I didn't enjoy college football like that. Like, I remember Friday night lights, but, like, now looking back on it, I wish I would've savored the moment more, because I didn't. Like, my rookie year, I don't even think I really enjoyed my rookie year like that, but last year, I actually enjoyed it; I was like, 'Dang, I get to wake up, I get to play football; like, my family's watching.' That's really one thing I learned about that, and it's perspective: everybody in life has something or somewhere they want to go, but you can't ever neglect that present because you never know what your future holds."