It’s been done by one of Buffalo’s all-time Bills before. Back in 2007 Bruce Smith announced the club’s first-round pick as part of a salute to Virginia Tech in the wake of the tragic shootings that occurred on the Blacksburg, Virginia campus just days prior to the draft. This time around round two will be celebrating some of the best that played for each of the league’s 32 clubs, and for the Bills Andre Reed will take to the stage at Radio City Music Hall on April 29th.
Reed will be responsible for announcing Buffalo’s second-round pick, which currently sits second in the round and 34th overall.
“It’s going to be a cool thing to go there and see these young kids with their eyes lit up,” said Reed.
Buffalo’s all-time leading receiver doesn’t deny that some of the emotions he had on draft day back in 1985 will probably resurface, even though he was in his Allentown, Pennsylvania home with his family 26 years ago.
“Draft day and the feelings on that day don’t change over the years,” he said. “Every kid in this game has dreams of being drafted and being successful. There is a lot of work that goes in between hearing your name and saying, ‘Okay I’m on this team.’ As soon as your name is announced that’s when the real work starts.”
A Division II prospect out of Kutztown State, getting noticed back in Reed’s time was a bit more difficult than it is these days with what the pre-draft process has become.
“It wasn’t as media-driven as it is now,” said Reed. “ESPN was in its infancy in terms of covering the NFL draft. The (NFL) combine wasn’t like it was now with the NFL Network. Basically as a player you couldn’t tout yourself. There weren’t a lot of avenues for you to be out there to get noticed. Guys now have every avenue in the world to put themselves out there off the field and on the field, with twitter and Facebook. For me I was about 10 years too late, but that’s okay. Some of these kids will never be on the kind of team that I was on so that’s the beauty of it for me.”
The five-time Pro Football Hall of Fame finalist relishes the increased presence of smaller school products in the NFL that are thriving.
“A lot more small school players are being drafted earlier, some even in round one and two,” he said. “When I came out it wasn’t really like that. A lot of small school players were under the radar and it still is that way. I think if you look at the way teams are made up, a fair number of these kids in the Pro Bowl are from smaller schools. Those are the so called diamonds in the rough that you find that kind of define your football team and what your team is about. It’s not like the other (big school) guys don’t know what it’s like to work, but when you’re not highly publicized you have a different feel and approach to all of it.”
Reed, who has made a speedy recovery from a torn Achilles suffered during a flag football tournament overseas with U-S troops late last year, is already walking unassisted and will have a spring in his step when walking across the stage at Radio City.
“I tore it in December and had surgery the first week in January, so it’s been about three months,” Reed said. “I’m progressing pretty well. I’ve always been a guy where if I was injured I took care of it and made sure I was ready to go. This is a little different because I’m not playing anymore, but I’ve always been a fast healer.”
And as for advice for Buffalo’s top draft choices Reed only recommends developing a thick skin.
“I’d just say, ‘This is going to be a process for you and you’re going to be scrutinized and you’ve got to be able to handle it,’” said Reed. “That’s going to be the big question for whomever they pick. How they’re going to handle the scrutiny and attention.”