Will the eighth time be the charm for Andre Reed?
The former Buffalo Bills wide receiver was named Thursday as a finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame's 2014 class, but that's familiar territory for Reed. He has yet to be inducted despite being voted as a finalist the past eight years.
Enough is enough, former Bills general manager Bill Polian said Friday.
"It's time for Andre Reed," said Polian. "It's time that the voters recognize the greatness of Andre Reed, just as they have recognized the greatness of Art Monk, Steve Largent, Cris Carter and Michael Irvin."
Reed was the Bills' leading receiver in each of their Super Bowl seasons (1990-93) and ranks fifth in NFL history, behind Jerry Rice, Reggie Wayne, Hines Ward and Irvin, with 85 postseason receptions.
"Andre Reed does belong," Polian said. "It's his time. It's time for the voters to say 'This guy was a dominant receiver in the AFC during his time, during his 16 seasons in the league, during our time at the top of the AFC.' It's time for people to recognize that."
Several other Bills stars from Reed's era have been inducted into the Hall of Fame, including quarterback Jim Kelly (2002), running back Thurman Thomas (2007), defensive end Bruce Smith (2009) and coach Marv Levy (2001).
Polian, who is now an ESPN NFL analyst, has been left scratching his head for the past eight seasons when Reed has made the Hall of Fame's final cut but hasn't been selected for induction.
"I don't know why he's not been in. No one can tell me why," Polian said. "When I ask voters, why has Andre not been voted in, they all sort of pat me on the head and say, 'He'll get in. He'll get in,' as though there's some hidden reason why he hasn't thus far."
Irvin has three Super Bowl rings with the Dallas Cowboys, so one knock against Reed may be the Bills losing four consecutive Super Bowls from 1990 to 1993. Polian believes that both players are deserving for induction but that their championships shouldn't play a role.
"That should not count! If that's going to count, then the voters should come out and say publicly we should hold losses in the Super Bowl against you." Polian said. "Marvin Harrison, because he only won one Super Bowl, it's going to be held against him? Peyton Manning, because he won one Super Bowl, it's going to be held against him? They should come out and say it because there's no reason for Michael Irvin to be in there and Andre Reed not, other than the fact that you want to hold the Super Bowl losses against him."
Reed faces competition at receiver this year from Harrison, who is in his first year of eligibility, and Tim Brown, who is eligible for the fifth time. Polian, who served as general manager of the Indianapolis Colts for much of Harrison's career in Indianapolis, advocates more receivers being inducted, so he does not necessarily view this year's vote as a choice between the trio of receivers named as finalists.
"I believe it's time to get Tim Brown in too. It's time for the receivers. They've been left behind. For other people, particularly offensive linemen," Polian said. "I've made this argument for years. The modern era of football is a passing game, and it's time to rectify that."
The 46-member selection committee will vote Feb. 1 in New York, with a minimum of 80 percent required for induction.
"Here's a guy -- think about this -- a self-made player from Kutztown State who barely had a scholarship who becomes the dominant receiver in the AFC for 15 years," Polian said about Reed. "That's what the NFL is all about. This is Andre's time. He needs to get in.
"It would make me as happy as happy can be. Next to Andre Reed and his family, I'd be the happiest guy in Canton."