Bills gives former Pitt standout McKillop another shot
Don't count Scott McKillop out yet.
Two major knee surgeries shortened his initial stint in the NFL, but the former Pitt and Kiski Area star linebacker is getting another chance to fulfill his dream of playing in the pros.
McKillop signed a two-year contract Tuesday with the Buffalo Bills.
He was released by the San Francisco 49ers in August and has been touring NFL facilities seeking work. He wants teams to know that he isn't damaged goods.
"I am fortunate to get this opportunity," McKillop said. "Essentially I am a rookie again. Nothing is guaranteed. If I make the 53-man roster, I'll know how fortunate I am."
During training camp in 2010, he suffered a season-ending knee injury but rehabbed to get back into shape. He tore the ACL, MCL and patellar tendon in his left knee
"One thing I have learned is that the NFL is a business," said McKillop, 25. "It's a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately league."
A former college All-American, McKillop reunites with his college coach, former Pitt coach Dave Wannstedt, who was recently promoted to defensive coordinator.
A special-teams ace in his first season, the 6-foot-1, 245-pound McKillop had an interception in a preseason game, and scored a touchdown in a 2009 game against the St. Louis Rams.
Should he finally get a chance to play linebacker, McKillop will be familiar with his coach.
"When there's someone there who knows you, it's a positive," McKillop said. "You have someone in your corner who knows your body of work. That was an important factor in my decision."
McKillop said he also was offered a contract by the Oakland Raiders, and worked out for the Seattle Seahawks and Atlanta Falcons.
He also took a physical for the Steelers and was set to meet with the Jacksonville Jaguars this week.
"Like my dad said, I have been spending more time flying than a pilot," he said.
McKillop said signing a contract is a small step in the long process back.
"I have a new canvas," he said. "The key now is to paint what they want to see."
McKillop was a fifth-round pick of San Francisco in 2009.