Saturday, February 6, 2010
Reed misses Hall cut, but makes up ground
By Tim Graham
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Andre Reed deserves to be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
He just has to wait his turn.
For the fourth time, the legendary Buffalo Bills receiver was a semifinalist who didn't make the cut. Receiver Jerry Rice, running backs Emmitt Smith and Floyd Little, guard Russ Grimm, defensive tackle John Randle, linebacker Rickey Jackson and cornerback and esteemed coach Dick LeBeau were selected Saturday for the class of 2010.
Nobody expected Reed to be honored with Rice and Smith on the ballot for the first time. That left two fewer spots available for the others.
But there were some interesting developments in this year's selection process that bode well for Reed's candidacy in 2011.
There had been a belief among Hall of Fame voters Cris Carter would have to inducted before Reed could make it. But for the first time, Reed finished ahead of Carter in the process.
When the list of 15 semifinalists was pared down to 10, Carter and Tim Brown (in his first year of eligibility) didn't advance. Reed did after failing to make the final 10 last year.
And as Reed's career numbers continue to slide down the all-time list each season -- a tight end passed him this year, and Randy Moss, Torry Holt and Hines Ward probable will knock him out of the top 10 next year -- there was concern Reed's credentials would dim.
Maybe that won't be the case.
Reed caught 951 passes for 13,198 yards and 87 touchdowns. He went to four straight Super Bowls. Had the Bills won one of them, the chances for his induction would be moot. He'd probably already be in.
"It's not just about how many you caught, but when you caught them," Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin said on the NFL Network's induction show. "To go to four Super Bowls, that means all of your catches meant something. So hopefully he will be here one day."