PIKE — Former Letchworth High School and University of Maine standout Derek Buttles has earned a free agent tryout with the Buffalo Bills.
He joins three UMaine classmates pursuing their NFL dreams. Safety Jerron McMillian on Saturday became the highest draft pick in program history when he was selected in the fourth round, 133rd overall, by the Green Bay Packers.
Later in the day, Bears safety Trevor Coston agreed to a free-agent contract with the Chicago Bears and running back Pushaun Brown was offered a free-agent tryout by the New York Jets.
The deals involving four UMaine players matches the previous high achieved in 2006, when there was one draft pick (Kevin McMahan) and three free-agent signees.
Buttles, a 6-foot-5, 230-pound tight end, missed most of his senior season with a knee injury.
Buttles appeared to be headed for his best season with UMaine last fall when he suffered a season-ending left knee injury Sept. 17 at Albany. He had surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament and underwent rehabilitation.
Buttles,a Pike native, worked his way back in time to participate in UMaine’s Pro Day in March.
Last fall, he caught 10 passes for 193 yards and a touchdown and finished his career with 62 receptions for 796 yards and four TDs in 37 contests. He was an All-Colonial Athletic Association second-team choice in 2010.
Buttles, a 2007 graduate of Letchworth, was chosen as the Livingston County News Athlete of the Year for the 2006-2007 season.
In his senior season at Letchworth, he led the Indians to the Section 5 Class C finals, where they lost to Le Roy. On offense that season, he caught 17 passes for 286 yards for the squad that finished 7-3. He also ran the ball 34 times for 274 yards. He was even better on defense, as he led the entire Livingston Conference with 152 tackles (15.2 per game) with 113 assists and 39 solos. He also had two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and an interception as he was named the Section 5 Class C Defensive Player of the Year.
The multi-sport athlete was also second-team all-state in basketball at Letchworth and finished seventh in the shot put and 13th in the discus in the state meet as a senior.