For the eighth straight time Bills all-time leading receiver Andre Reed is a Pro Football Hall of Fame finalist. Fellow receiver Cris Carter broke up what appeared to be a logjam at receiver between him, Reed and Tim Brown, who with Reed is again a finalist this year. Knowing Reed has advanced further than Brown in the reduction vote from 15 to 10, it's believed the Bills Wall of Famer has the inside track.
"He is a very strong candidate. He's viewed as a strong candidate or he wouldn't keep making it," said Buffalo News reporter Mark Gaughan on the John Murphy show earlier this month. "Not only has he made it eight times to the final 15, but he's made the final 10 four of the last five years . And he actually made the final 10 ahead of Cris Carter three years ago and two years ago and last year both he and Cris Carter made the final 10 and then Carter got in. The way it works is the final 15 are whittled down to 10 and then five and then you vote up or down on those five."
Gaughan, who is responsible for presenting Reed's case to the other 45 Hall of Fame Selectors, doesn't consider Reed a favorite because a new receiver is now part of the mix.
"Tim Brown is still there, but he has never made the final 10," said Gaughan. "Andre has made the final 10 for four of the last five years. Marvin Harrison is up this year so how does that impact the dynamics of the vote? That's a good question."
Reed in an appearance on NFL Network Friday was asked if the door is now open for him for enshrinement with Carter inducted last year.
"Of course it opens the door," said Reed. "That's my era. I'm there with Tim (Brown), Cris (Carter), Jerry (Rice), Michael (Irvin). That's our era. You can't deny what we did. It's amazing now that Marvin is in the mix now. Marvin is with Randy (Moss) and T.O. (Terrell Owens) and Hines Ward and the other guys that are coming up. But it's a different game right now."
As far as Reed's former head coach, Hall of Famer Marv Levy is concerned the receiver's induction is long overdue.
"He's handled it very graciously," said Levy. "I think he's tremendously deserving. You can talk about statistics. When he retired he was the third-most prolific receiver of all time, but it went way beyond that with Andre if you stop and think about it. We had a balanced offense that wasn't just focused on one guy and yet he racked up yards. There was nobody in the history of the game in my opinion better at coming across the middle who was more courageous. His nickname with our players was YAC, not because he talked a lot but because of his yards after catch."
Former teammate James Lofton, a Hall of Fame receiver himself, was an admirer of Reed's game even before he came to the Bills.
"I have my fingers crossed for him again," said Lofton on Bills flagship station WGR Sportsradio 550 this week. "He's a great friend of mine. I think he should already be in. I watched him play before I got to Buffalo and then getting a chance to play alongside of him. I know what a Hall of Famer looks like and Andre Reed is obviously one."
Reed, who has been through this process seven times now as a finalist, seems at ease about the decisions the Selectors make this time around.
"I can't do anything about it," said Reed. "All I could do was what I did on the field. That's documented. Everybody that is a finalist is deserving. My peers other players who are on that list. If you get on the ballot you're deserving. I'm just humbled to be in the position."