INDIANAPOLIS – So close, yet so far for Buffalo Bills great Andre Reed.
The Bills’ all-time best receiver advanced to the final 10 in the voting for the Pro Football Hall of Fame for a third year in a row. But when the voting to reduce the field went down to the final five, Reed was eliminated.
Reed was among 15 modern-era finalists for a sixth straight year. The modern-era players elected to the Class of 2012 were center Dermontti Dawson, defensive end Chris Doleman, defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy and running back Curtis Martin and tackle Willie Roaf. Seniors candidate Jack Butler of the Pittsburgh Steelers also was elected.
Reed likely was a victim of a splitting of the vote at the receiver position. Minnesota great Cris Carter and Oakland great Tim Brown were the other receivers among the 15 finalists. Brown was eliminated in the cut-down to 10. Carter advanced with Reed to the final 10. The strong likelihood is voters only picked one receiver to get to the final five, and Reed and Carter cancelled each other out. Carter was in his fifth year as a finalist. He also made the cut-down to 10 in 2009.
The merits of all three receivers were vigorously debated during a selection meeting that lasted about 7 1-2 hours. Reed finished his career with 951 catches for 13,198 yards and 87 touchdowns. Carter finished with 1,101 catches for 13,899 yards and 130 touchdowns. Carter’s TD total ranked second among receivers in NFL history at the time of his retirement behind only Jerry Rice. Reed played in an offense that was more balanced and in worse weather conditions. Reed had more team success, helping his team to four Super Bowl appearances, and had better production in the playoffs.
A maximum of five modern-era finalists can get elected. A group of 44 veteran football writers and broadcasters vote on the candidates. The Hall does not release vote totals.