Andre Reed

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Buffalo Bills Wide Receiver

Despite the presence of Thurman Thomas in the backfield, the Buffalo Bills’ K-Gun offense was a pass-oriented attack. On those thrilling afternoons when footballs filled the skies over Orchard Park, Jim Kelly’s most frequent target was the most durable, most dependable and most prolific pass receiver of the modern Bills era – Andre Reed.

A fourth-round pick from tiny Kutztown State in Pennsylvania and a two-time Eastern College Athletic Conference first-teamer, Reed made an impressive debut with the Bills in 1985. He started all but one game, grabbing 48 passes for 637 yards and four touchdowns for a sorry Bills squad. With the arrival of Kelly and a strong supporting cast the following season, Reed began to blossom. In 1989, Andre was second in the National Football League with 88 receptions, for a career-high 1,312 yards. He duplicated those statistics in 1994, with 90 catches for 1,303 yards. During his career, Reed earned seven straight Pro Bowl appearances, as well as the respect of every defensive back and defensive coordinator in the league.

The fearless Reed was a master at gaining extra yards running after the catch, and consequently absorbed a great deal of punishment from defenders. This fact makes his extreme longevity remarkable. In a sport known for its early retirement plan, Andre endured for 17 seasons, and at the time of his retirement, found himself among the all-time NFL leaders in receptions (951, fourth place) and yardage (13,198, sixth place). Reed is the Bills’ career leader in those categories, as well as in touchdowns (86) and games played (221). In an astounding display of consistency, with the exception of an injury-plagued 1995 campaign, Reed caught at least 50 passes in every season from 1986 to 1999.

Every notable career provides fans with many snapshots in time. Undoubtedly Reed’s finest hour was the afternoon he helped to spark the greatest comeback in NFL history against the Houston Oilers. With Kelly and Thomas sidelined by injuries, Reed teamed with Frank Reich for three touchdowns in less than 16 minutes to rally the Bills from a 32-point deficit to an overtime playoff win.

While always tough and reliable, Reed, like his illustrious teammates, was usually at his best in the big games. Stellar efforts in playoff wins and Super Bowls fill his resume. Those performances, too numerous to recount here, have earned Andre his place in the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame.