Buffalo Bills great Andre Reed began the weekend he's waited years for Friday, getting his Pro Football Hall of Fame jacket. The best moment is yet to come Saturday, when he's officially enshrined in the hall.
The seven-time Hall of Fame finalist will finally take his spot beside so many of his Hall of Fame peers. Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas, Bruce Smith and James Lofton are all in Canton to honor their former teammate, with coach Mary Levy set to induct him Saturday.
Reed said the wait has been worth it:
Reed is the 10th former Bills player, coach or executive to enter the hall. He remains the team's all-time leader with 13,095 receiving yards and co-leader with Thomas with 87 touchdowns.
Thomas and many of his other teammates had lobbied for years to have Reed enshrined. But with Cris Carter and Tim Brown among other receivers of that era up as finalists, breaking through proved difficult. Many thought Reed was more worthy than Carter – who went into the hall in 2013 – to be inducted first. But getting in at all is the most important thing, Thomas said:
"I'm so happy to have Andre going in this year, A little long overdue, but always happy to have a former teammate … to have a teammate that you played with for 12 years go into the Pro Football Hall of Fame is something special."
Reed said the time since he was announced as part of the 2014 class has flown by. But his former teammates have told him to try to enjoy the moment:
"The past six months have been pretty – I mean, I've been on a train a bunch of times. I mean, I haven't stopped in the past six months. I think the one thing Bruce and Thurman and Jim tell me is soak it all in because it's a once-in-a-lifetime thing. Those guys are so happy for me because their puzzle wasn't done until I got in there. Now to them, the puzzle's done."
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