The old saying, "if you don't succeed, try, try again" certainly applies to wide receiver Andre Reed of the Buffalo Bills.
Despite 16 NFL seasons, over 950 catches, seven Pro Bowl nods and four trips to the Super Bowl, Reed was denied entry to the Hall, failing as a finalist in each of the past seven years.
Not only were Reed's regular-season numbers gaudy in their own right, but as former teammate (and fellow Hall of Famer) James Lofton told Mark Gaughan of The Buffalo News, Reed shined brightest when the pressure was greatest.
"Andre Reed played for winning teams for a long time and he was huge in big games," Lofton said. "Look at his playoff numbers."
Those playoff numbers, courtesy of Gaughan:
In 21 playoff games, Reed caught 85 passes for 1,229 yards. He ranks fifth all-time in postseason receiving yards. In his first 16 playoff games (equal to a full season), he had 75 catches for 1,117 yards and nine touchdowns.
Now, Reed will join quarterback Jim Kelly and running back Thurman Thomas in the Hall of Fame, and the "K-Gun" will have all its stars in Canton.
Kelly, who is battling cancer and in poor health, will be in attendance, according to what Jill Kelly told The Buffalo News' Jerry Sullivan:
He’s pushing it. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not as if he’s all better and good to go. There’s still the looming test in August, the not knowing if treatments worked, the fact that he’s still on a feeding tube. His life is still in that place of uncertainty, not knowing really what’s going to happen with all of this. So he’s still beat down; he’s still tired, he still gets sick quite a bit. But he would not miss this for the world.
Bronze busts are nice, but displays of respect don't get any better than that.
Bleacher Report AFC East Lead Writer Erik Frenz reflected on the career that inspired that level of respect and loyalty from Reed's old quarterback.