BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – “The day he was born, his father looked at him and said, ‘This will be the athlete,'” said Andre Reed’s mother, Joyce Reed-Ebling.
Reed, who will be inducted into the Hall of Fame on August 2, is the Buffalo Bills tenth representative.
“It kind of chokes me up a bit because you remember when you are that little kid that is just running around and your helmet is so heavy that you can’t keep you head straight when I was 8-years-old,” said Reed. “Then you remember the last time you took the helmet off and all that stuff in between, that’s what the Hall of Fame is really about, that honor, that’s what all that means.”
The Allentown native played at Kutztown University, a Division II school, before the Bills drafted him with the 86th overall pick in the fourth round in 1985.
“The knock on me was could I play for a Division II school and play at the next level, the highest level?” Reed recalls. “I didn’t let any of those distractions hold me back.”
In his 16-year NFL career, Reed had 951 receptions for 13,198 receiving yards and 87 touchdowns. He still remains the Bills all-time leader for receptions (941) and receiving yards (13,095) and is tied with Bills running back Thurman Thomas for career touchdowns.
Reed credits his teammates and coaches for much of his success, especially Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly.
“I think he was a part of my success 100 percent,” said Reed. “When he came here in ’86 I was going into my second year. When I came here I thought, well this could be the start of something big.”
The Hall of Fame is the highest honor one can receive in their post-athletic career.
“It means hard work and dedication, all those words that Marv (Levy) uses, perseverance, resiliency,” explained Reed. “But I represent not only my teammates and the Buffalo Bills, but I also represent my family, which is the most important thing to me.”