Former Buffalo Bills wide receiver Andre Reed got his well-deserved Pro Football Hall of Fame call Saturday, ending a nearly decade-long wait for the man who set the standard at his position during his heyday (at least outside of Jerry Rice).
But after he exits the stage in Canton, Ohio, for his induction ceremony Aug. 2, it could be a very long time before Bills fans see another of their own up there again.
Reed will be the 10th member of the Bills to enter the Hall of Fame. He will join many of teammates from the 1990s Super Bowl years – Jim Kelly, Bruce Smith, Thurman Thomas, coach Marv Levy and owner Ralph Wilson Jr. – in Canton.
But those teams were basically the last really good teams fielded by Buffalo. The two decades since have produced mostly putrid teams with midland talent. So the next Bills player to make the Hall of Fame might not have even suited up for the team yet.
Here are a few top nominees from those years; note that none of these players actually stand much of a chance, but they are the best of what's available:
- WR Eric Moulds: If it took Reed that long to get in the Hall of Fame, then Moulds will never even be considered. He was good, but not great. He topped 90 catches twice, including a 100-reception, 1,292-yard effort in 2002. He's 33rd all-time with 764 catches and made three Pro Bowls.
- QB Drew Bledsoe: He didn't do enough to earn a spot alongside Joe Montana and Jim Kelly. He had a career 98-95 record, enjoying his best success with New England. He made three Pro Bowls as a Patriot, topping the NFL in completions (400) and yards (4,555) in 1994. He went only 23-25 in four seasons in Buffalo, but he was the last Bills quarter to make a Pro Bowl (2002, when he threw for 4,359 yards and 24 touchdowns) and guide the Bills to a winning record (9-7 in 2004, missing the playoffs by a game). His 44,611 career passing yards are 10th all-time, and he's 15th with 251 touchdowns.
- DE Aaron Schobel: He's 63rd all-time with 78 career sacks, having topped double-digits four times. He made two Pro Bowls but retired early, many felt in part because he was mired in such a losing culture.
- WR Terrell Owens: If voters can overcome Owens' rotten attitude, his 1,078 career catches and 15,934 career yards should be enough for eventual enshrinement. But his one forgettable season in Buffalo (55 catches, 829 yards, five touchdowns in 2009) don't warrant his going in as a Bill.
A few of Reed's former teammates might also warrant at least moderate consideration:
- ST Steve Tasker: he's been a Hall of Fame semifinalist six times. But, even if he's the best player ever dedicated to a special teams position, Tasker's limited on-field impact may prevent him from ever being taken seriously. Punter Ray Guy's induction Saturday does open the door a tiny bit; he's the first dedicated punter ever to gain entry.
- LB Cornelius Bennett: The five-time Pro Bowler topped 100 tackles three times in nine seasons in Buffalo. His 71.5 sacks are 76th all-time. But the teams of that era were balanced defensively, so no one outside of Bruce Smith posted eye-popping stats. And that can hurt players like Bennett.
- LB Darryl Talley: Players on both sides of the ball cited Talley as a unifying force and leader during that era. But his numbers, while good, don't put him near the upper echelon of linebacking greats. Talley did top 100 tackles five times, including 136 in 1993. He also posted five interceptions in 1991 and made two Pro Bowls.
- Andre Reed Finally to Be Enshrined into Pro Football Hall of Fame
- Buffalo Bills’ Andre Reed Would Be Denied Hall of Fame by Fans, Poll Says
- Former Buffalo Bills Receiver Andre Reed Named NFL Hall of Fame Finalist, Again
- Buffalo Bills Legend Andre Reed to Learn Hall of Fame Fate Saturday Night
- Former Buffalo Bills Coach Marv Levy Pulling for Andre Reed in Hall of Fame Pursuit
Short URL: http://sport-ne.ws/17n0