The photograph popped up on Twitter late Friday afternoon. It shows former University of Maine standout wide receiver Andre Miller on one knee, signing a football for a young fan at the New York Giants training facility in East Rutherford, New Jersey. There are other signatures already on the football.

Miller’s dreadlocks block his face so you can’t see his eyes, but you can tell he’s signing the football carefully, with intent, making sure this kid in the blue Saquon Barkley Giants jersey doesn’t feel shortchanged.

Andre Miller, the former receiver at UMaine and Old Town High, is an undrafted receiver who is in training camp with the New York Giants. Noah K. Murray/Associated Press

The photo is just a moment in time, but is says a lot about Miller. He knows as an undrafted rookie in his first NFL training camp, his time is precious. He also knows a first impression is precious, too, and he’s making a good one with this fan.

Around an hour after the photo was first posted by an account called @BlackBearRecruiting, Miller posted it to his own account (@TheDreMiller) with this message: “I remember being those kids, never met players in person but always thought of the day.”

Growing up in Old Town, Miller was physically hundreds of miles from an NFL training camp. Figuratively, the gap was in the millions. Miller, 24, signed with the Giants on May 12 as a rookie free agent. As an undrafted player out of a small school, Miller is a long shot to make the Giants. It’s not impossible, but it’s not going to be easy. Especially with the Giants listing the 6-foot-3, 224-pound Miller, a wide receiver in high school and college, as a tight end. Learning a new position in your first professional training camp? Might as well ask Miller to juggle chainsaws while he runs his routes to really see what he’s made of.

“Training camp next week,” Miller tweeted on July 23. “I couldn’t be more excited, another opportunity.”


Miller has been doing things the hard way for a long time. Do you remember Miller’s high school career? Unless you follow Old Town High football, or Class C North, you don’t. Catching passes from Coyotes quarterback Jake Jarvis, Miller shredded Class C North defenses in anonymity throughout the 2015 season. Old Town has not been a Maine high school football hot spot for decades. Why would people go out of their way to check out a receiver there?

Andre Miller’s coming-out party was the 2016 Lobster Bowl when he caught seven passes for 207 yards and four touchdowns to lead the East to a 58-52 win. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

It wasn’t until he did the same thing in the 2016 Maine Shrine Lobster Bowl – catching seven passes for 207 yards and four touchdowns to lead the East to a 58-52 shootout win and earning Most Valuable Player honors – did Miller earn statewide notice.

Miller didn’t qualify academically to play at Maine right out of high school, so he worked at it. First in one year at Husson, where he played football, followed by one year at Eastern Maine Community College, a school with no football team but plenty of time to study and make oneself eligible to play for the Black Bears.

Andre Miller came to UMaine as a walk-on in 2018 and became one of the program’s top receivers. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel

After joining the Black Bears as a walk-on in 2018, Miller completed his career with 104 receptions, 1,848 yards, and 14 touchdowns, stats that certainly would’ve been higher had the 2020 season not been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic and replaced by a brief four-game season in the spring of 2021. At Maine, Miller had a knack for getting open, and for catching the deep pass. His three touchdowns last season were on catches of 22, 22, and 30 yards. Miller’s resume also includes two of the longest touchdown catches in Black Bear history, 90 and 87 yards. Twice, Miller earned all-Colonial Athletic Association honors.

All that did was open the door to the Giants training camp. Now, wearing No. 43 for the Giants and at the bottom of the depth chart, Miller’s accolades odometer is reset to zero.

There’s Miller, on one knee, signing a football to make the day of one young Giants fan a little brighter. If he makes the team, Miller has one of his first fans. It’s a moment that shows he takes this opportunity and everything that comes with it seriously. Guys from Old Town, Maine don’t make the New York Giants, do they?

Guys from Old Town don’t typically get the chance. Miller already has defied the odds, again.

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