One last pass from Bills' Kelly to Reed at Hall of Fame
by Joe Buscaglia,posted Aug 2 2014 8:42PM
The Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement is a special moment for all that get the honor of unveiling their bust as members of the game’s elite. As promised, Buffalo Bills greats Jim Kelly and Andre Reed provided something that made for one of the most memorable moments for Bills fans everywhere.
Leading up, there were only rumors to that point, even some fans chanting “one more pass,” in hopes that the two link up one more time on one of the grandest stages of them all. Kelly wouldn’t commit anything before the ceremony, but did tease that something was on the way.
“I know we have a little special thing at the end with Andre, so I'm looking forward to that,” he said. “Just to have this many people here already and all the people we've seen near the hotel since I've been here, it doesn't surprise me that Buffalo Bill fans are here in full force.”
And to put it bluntly, they delivered.
After Reed spent over 30 minutes thanking all those that helped him get to this point in his life, Reed ran to the far end of the stage, raised his arms and asked for one more pass from the man who delivered so many over the course of his career. Jim Kelly reared back, sent one Reed's way and made for a moment that won't soon be forgotten.
Kelly, who is in an extremely public fight against cancer, made it so that he would be in attendance for Reed the way that his wide receiver of so many years supported him when he got the call to the Hall. Despite his physical conditions, despite the toll it would take on his body… the former Bills quarterback wouldn’t have it any other way.
“I don't know how important it is, but in my mind, it was a must,” Kelly remarked. “For me, I know I have something small to do with him being here, but Andre's my man. He's the reason I'm wearing this gold jacket because of all the great catches he had and all the things did with his career. It's a blessing that he's here today.”
The Hall of Fame quarterback admitted that he was feeling a little tired from all of the events, driving up and down the state of Ohio as part of the weekend’s festivities. Predictably, Kelly refused to complain and said that he’s doing alright.
No matter where you turn at Fawcett Stadium in Canton, Ohio — essentially in the backyard of the Pro Football Hall of Fame — you’ll see a Bills jersey before too long. Fans came in droves to see Reed finally realize his dream of so many, many years and to live in the glory days one more time.
And when Kelly came into view, a few chanted the words “Kelly tough, Kelly tough.” It’s a saying that has made many waves due to Kelly’s present condition and how positive he’s been even through all the radiation and chemotherapy he’s had to endure.
“It means a lot,” he said of the fans chanting ‘Kelly tough.’ “‘Kelly tough’ might be one thing as far as a physical part. But the mental part for all those people out there that are suffering something similar that I am, it's the people around them that make the toughness come out. That's for me, that's how it's been. I've known I've always been physically tough, but the mental toughness is another thing. I've had so many great people behind me, not only just my family, but all the people in Buffalo. So I couldn't ask for anything better.”
But as Kelly insisted, it’s not about him. Saturday, August 2, 2014 is about one man that donned the jersey of the Buffalo Bills in the early 90s — Andre Reed. Reed took out roughly three minutes of his speech to talk about Kelly.
"I was known for my toughness going across the middle, making that catch, breaking tackles. But the toughest individual I've ever met in my life is Jim Kelly, number 12," the wide receiver began. "You're an inspiration to all those you touch. I'm honored to call you my teammate, my friend and my family member. And now, my fellow Hall of Famer. "
The two even had a running joke that they shared with all those in attendance and watching all over the world. One that served perhaps as a preview of what was to come.
"We always joked about when I would say every time I left the huddle whether it was a run or pass play, 'Right here, bro.' I said that every time. I didn't care if it was a run or a pass... I was open," Reed said.
It didn't even matter if it was at the Hall of Fame Enshrinement, Reed was open. And Kelly found him for one last pass.