When Andre Reed steps to the lectern in Canton at the Pro Football Hall of Fame to accept his enshrinement as part of the 2014 class of inductees Saturday night the moment will be the culmination of a career marked by great success and impressive longevity. Reed also knows how fortunate he was to play for a team that was blessed with other Hall of Fame caliber talent and a Hall of Fame coach.
The Bills all-time leading receiver is grateful that they will all be in attendance to welcome him to the club. His only regret is there will be one particular member of Buffalo's Hall of Fame contingent who won't be there to share the memorable day.
"The only person who will be missing is Ralph (Wilson)," said Reed. "I wish he could've hung on a little bit more. That would've been icing on the cake for him."
The Bills founder and owner passed away this past March at age 95. Inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2009 along with Bills great Bruce Smith, Wilson delighted in the honors bestowed upon his players.
Reed holds some solace in knowing that Wilson was aware of his impending enshrinement having been chosen by the Hall of Fame Board of Selectors in February.
"I really didn't get a chance to talk to him in his final months of his life because he was in failing health, but I talked to his wife," said Reed. "I talked to Mary a lot. I've gotten to know her a lot over the past couple of months and this year the opening game in Buffalo this year is going to be a tribute to Ralph and I'll get to see everybody again and it'll be really special."
Although Wilson will not be physically present on Saturday night, Reed and the rest of his Bills family in attendance are confident he will be in attendance. "He's going to be the most important person who is not going to be there, but we all hold his spirit and we all hold what he meant to football and what he meant to Buffalo," said Reed. "He's meant a lot to the game and the game probably wouldn't be the way it is if it wasn't for him and five or six other guys. Ralph has made his legacy and I think his family should be proud of that. He'll be there."
The Bills owner has passed away at the age of 95.