NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. -- Andre Reed doesn't get a chance to share opinions about the Buffalo Bills like his old teammates do. Jim Kelly and Thurman Thomas live in Western New York. They're frequent guests on local broadcasts. The Bills trot them out at news conferences.
"It's very tough," said Reed, who lives near San Diego and doesn't make the media rounds much. "I played here 15, 16 years. I was a part of this city. You feel like you're obligated to say something."
On Sunday, the legendary Bills receiver appeared at the Seneca Niagara Casino & Hotel for a cool event called the Buffalo Men's Show, sponsored by Buffalo radio station 97 Rock.
Reed, after chatting up one of the Hanson brothers from the movie "Slap Shot," took the opportunity to share his thoughts on what the Bills need to break their decade-long playoff drought.
"They've got to stop messing with the quarterback," Reed said. "Put the quarterback in there, let him make mistakes, do what you got to do. Don't start pulling him and doing this and doing that."
Is that quarterback on the roster? The Bills have a muddled situation. Trent Edwards, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Brian Brohm all started last year. Edwards had the job at the start of the season, but lost it to Fitzpatrick, who wasn't exactly stellar.
"I think they need to put Trent back in regardless," said Reed, who was among the 10 finalists for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this year but missed the cut.
"They're not going to do anything in the draft to get a quarterback. If anything, they'll do something in free agency. But Buffalo's not really aggressive. The Bills are sitting stagnant."
Reed felt an offensive-minded head coach was needed. So he was OK with the hiring of Chan Gailey.
Reed's main point of contention with the Bills is an overall lack of leadership among the players.
He recounted a question he fielded at the Bills' Monday Quarterback Club luncheon before he was given the Ralph Wilson Distinguished Service Award in Week 5. A fan wanted to know what the Bills lacked.
"They need somebody in the locker room that's going to take charge," Reed said. "They need two guys that are going to pull other guys aside. They don't have that.
"They don't have a guy who tells the coaches [after a locker-room meeting] they've got to go, 'We're going to sit here and talk among ourselves and figure out what we've got to do.' That's what we did. Thurman and Bruce [Smith] and Jim, all those guys were vocal. If we lost two games in a row, we're talking. Somebody's got to get right.
"I don't see that much of a pulse. Accountability was prevalent. 'Hey, man, I'm counting on you. If you don't do it, then we've got to find somebody else.' "