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Reed among 25 semifinalists for Hall of Fame

By Mark Gaughan

Buffalo Bills great Andre Reed is among 25 semifinalists for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

The Hall on Wednesday night released the results of voting that brought a preliminary list of 126 down to 25. The 25 semifinalists will be narrowed to a list of 15 finalists in early January. Reed has been one of the 15 modern-era finalists for induction seven years in a row.

Besides Reed, the semifinalists include: kicker Morten Andersen; safeties Steve Atwater and John Lynch; running backs Jerome Bettis, Roger Craig and Terrell Davis; linebackers Derrick Brooks, Kevin Greene and Karl Mecklenburg; receivers Tim Brown and Marvin Harrison; coaches Don Coryell, Tony Dungy and Jimmy Johnson; owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr.; defensive ends Charles Haley and Michael Strahan; tackles Joe Jacoby and Walter Jones; guards Will Shields and Steve Wisniewski; commissioner Paul Tagliabue; cornerback Aeneas Williams; and general manager George Young. 

Reed holds most of Buffalo's team receiving records, earned in a Bills career that spanned from 1985 to 1999. Reed finished his career with 951 catches, 13,198 receiving yards and 88 touchdowns. In 21 postseason games, Reed caught 85 passes for 1,229 yards and nine touchdowns. He made seven Pro Bowls. 

Doug Marrone urges C.J. Spiller to hold O-line accountable

By Tim Graham

Maybe it's time for C.J. Spiller to stop being such a nice guy.

Buffalo Bills coach Doug Marrone suggested after today's game that Spiller should get into his offensive linemen's grills about blocking better.

Spiller had another miserable game even though his Bills waylaid the New York Jets, 37-14, in Ralph Wilson Stadium.

"I know it was terrible today," Spiller said. "It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know I didn't have a good day rushing the ball. I probably was in negative yards."

Not quite, but almost.

Spiller ran 13 times for 6 yards. His longest gain was 3 yards. He was tackled for no gain or negative yards five times.

One play was particularly aggravating. Against a loaded box about five minutes before halftime, the Bills ran anyway. Jets defensive end Muhammad Wilkerson shot through the Bills' line and tackled Spiller for a 4-yard loss.

You could almost see the steam shooting from the ear holes in Spiller's helmet as he walked to the sideline.

Marrone made it a point to speak with Spiller. Marrone was upset with the offensive line, noting they were falling down and whiffing on some run blocks.

"If you're a running back and you're getting the ball, that's something you don't expect," Marrone said. "You can live with the other stuff.

"I told him afterward, 'You know what? I'd be pissed, too. But the difference between me and you -- and this is what you have to do now -- is go over to that group right there, that offensive line, and you tell them. You tell them you're pissed.' "

Spiller had no quarrel with Marrone's advice.

"He's exactly right," Spiller said. "When things aren't going right, it's about holding each other accountable. It's nothing about degrading my teammates or anything like that. It's just letting them know that we have to get going."

Spiller admitted that venting isn't a foreign concept to him. He recently spoke to Thurman Thomas about this very topic, asking the Hall of Fame running back how to confront negative issues without turning into a controversy.

Bills center Eric Wood acknowledged Spiller's frustrations and welcomed his input.

"If he's not comfortable saying something, then maybe him doing that is not the best way," Wood said. "But if he's comfortable saying something, we respect him. We know what he can do when we give him holes. We've got to do a better job for him."

Legendary Bills receiver Andre Reed attended today's game and was in the locker room afterward. Reed laughed when asked whether Thomas had the temerity to confront Pro Bowl linemen such as Jim Ritcher, Kent Hull and Howard Ballard.

"If it ain't going right and you're the main guy, you get up in somebody's face regardless," Reed said. "Get up in the offensive line's face and say something. Thurman didn't give a damn who he was talking to.

"If it's bothering me, I'd get in somebody's face. Hell, I'm out here working, too."

Spiller's backfield mates, Fred Jackson and Tashard Choice, didn't fare much better Sunday. The Bills combined for 68 yards on 38 rushing attempts.

"We have the guys that can get the job done," Spiller said. "There wasn't a whole lot of room out there, but we'll get it corrected. That's the encouraging part."

Sixteen former Bills among 2014 Hall of Fame nominees

By Tim Graham

The Pro Football Hall of Fame today revealed the list of nominees for 2014 inductions.

The Buffalo Bills don't have any representatives who are first-year eligible, but 16 holdovers have been affiliated with the team.

Quarterback

  • Drew Bledsoe
  • Doug Flutie

Running back

  • Larry Centers

Wide receiver

  • Andre Reed

Offensive line

  • Kent Hull

Defensive line

  • Fred Smerlas
  • Ted Washington

Linebacker

  • Cornelius Bennett
  • Darryl Talley

Defensive back

  • Troy Vincent

Special teams

  • Steve Tasker

Coaches/Contributors

  • Tom Flores
  • Chuck Knox
  • Lou Saban
  • Marty Schottenheimer
  • Bill Polian

Neither Flores nor Schottenheimer was Bills head coach, but each played for them in the 1960s. Flores was the Bills' quarterbacks coach in 1971.

The full list of nominees will be reduced to 25 semifinalists in late November and to 15 finalists in early January.

The 2014 class will be voted upon by the Hall of Fame's Board of Selectors, of which Buffalo News reporter Mark Gaughan is a member, the day before the Super Bowl.

Radio show with Jim Kelly, Andre Reed, Steve Tasker starts tonight

By Jay Skurski

Bills greats Andre Reed, Jim Kelly and Steve Tasker will team up again this season for a radio show on SiriusXM NFL Radio.

No Huddle starts tonight at 7 p.m. and the hour-long show will air in that time slot every Wednesday during the NFL season. The show, which is in its second season, airs on Ch. 88 for Sirius and XM Premier subscribers.

Is Andre Reed's Hall of Fame window about to close?

By Tim Graham

CANTON, Ohio -- There has been a general belief legendary Buffalo Bills receiver Andre Reed eventually will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

That sentiment might not come with a lifetime guarantee.

Hall of Famers wonder if players such as Reed and Tim Brown will need to enter the Hall of Fame within the next few years to have their best shot.

Receivers with prolific stats from the contemporary game will be voted on soon.

Continue reading "Is Andre Reed's Hall of Fame window about to close?" »

Jim Kelly calls Pats 'vulnerable,' Aaron Hernandez a dummy

Jim Kelly
Jim Kelly says "sooner or late the Bills got to rise to the top."


By Tim Graham

Jim Kelly isn't all that busted up about the New England Patriots' offseason troubles.

"I don't really feel too sorry for them," Kelly said this morning on the NFL Network, "because sooner or late the Bills got to rise to the top, and if we have to take it that way? Oh, well."

Kelly was a guest on "NFL AM" to talk about his recovery from cancer surgery and heard some football questions, too.

Continue reading "Jim Kelly calls Pats 'vulnerable,' Aaron Hernandez a dummy" »

Couple of surprises on PFT's Buffalo Bills Mount Rushmore

By Tim Graham

ProFootballTalk.com has unveiled its Buffalo Bills Mount Rushmore.

And I think there are a couple upsets.

Neither Marv Levy nor Bruce Smith is honored.

Jim Kelly? Check.

O.J. Simpson? Check.

Continue reading "Couple of surprises on PFT's Buffalo Bills Mount Rushmore" »

Andre Reed to work with Andy Reid in coaching fellowship

By Mark Gaughan

Buffalo Bills great Andre Reed this summer will get to learn on the job under one of the most veteran coaches in the NFL.

Reed has accepted a Bill Walsh Minority Coaching Fellowship position with Andy Reid and the Kansas City Chiefs for this summer, Reed's representative, Jimmy Goldsmith, reports.

The coaching fellowship program is an annual NFL endeavor to give talented minority coaching prospects the chance to work during training camp and preseason with NFL coaching staffs. It's designed as a vocational tool to increase the number of full-time minority coaches in the league, and it was the brainchild of Walsh, the Hall-of-Fame coach of the 49ers.

Reid is in his first year with the Chiefs. He's the fifth most veteran head coach in the NFL, behind Mike Shanahan, Bill Belichick, Jeff Fisher and Tom Coughlin.

Marv Levy ranked 17th on list of 20 greatest NFL coaches

By Tim Graham

To celebrate what would've been Vince Lombardi's 100th birthday on June 11, ESPN is counting down its 20 greatest NFL coaches.

Buffalo Bills immortal Marv Levy came in at No. 17.

For the series, here's what Jim Kelly had to say about his coach:

"I think Marv Levy's biggest achievement is keeping his team mentally focused year after year after year, especially during that run of four Super Bowls. We went five years to the AFC Championship Game. Everybody knows you've got to be physically prepared for the game. If you're not, you're not going to make it. But to be able to mentally prepare your football team after a devastating loss, and forget about what happened the year before or the year before or the year before, and the resiliency our football team had, it started with Marv Levy. I know we wouldn't have gone to four Super Bowls in a row without Marv Levy.

"Probably the most influential thing about him was the way he handled the players on his team. If you remember, the guys we had -- Bruce Smith, Thurman Thomas, Andre Reed, Darryl Talley, Steve Tasker -- we had a bunch of different personalities, and we all had egos. Early on in Marv's career and our careers, we knew if we didn't come together as a team, it didn't matter how many superstars we had, we wouldn't make it. He made sure to make each individual understand that if we didn't put our egos to the side, we wouldn't achieve our goals. He could communicate to players in a way where we totally understood it. He was never the rah-rah, in-your-face type of guy. It was the old cliché: It's not what you said, but how you said it. Marv always knew what to say and how to say it.

"It clicked probably in 1988. The Bickering Bills came and I had something to do with that. Everybody did to a certain point. We went to the AFC Championship Game in 1988. We knew our football team was talented. In 1989, our egos started getting in the way, including myself. Marv knew what we could achieve, but we couldn't if we started pointing fingers at each other.

"To go back to back to back to back, that will never happen again. Nope. Period. The further we're removed from those games, the more people appreciate what we did. And it started with our head coach, Marv Levy."

Bills great Reed pursuing coaching career

By Mark Gaughan

Buffalo Bills all-time great receiver Andre Reed is pursuing a career in coaching and has been accepted into the Bill Walsh NFL Minority Coaching Fellowship program.

Reed, 49, retired from the NFL after the 2000 season and has kept a connection to the game via a variety of national broadcasting jobs. In January he served as receivers coach for the Casino Del Sol college all-star game in Tucson, Ariz. He was on the staff of long-time former University of Arizona coach Dick Tomey. That same month he served as a player ambassador, tutoring participants, in the NFL Players Association Collegiate Bowl in Los Angeles. The Collegiate Bowl is an all-star game that used to be called the Texas vs. Nation Game.

The minority fellowship was created by Walsh, San Francisco’s late Hall of Fame coach, in 1987. Its objective is to use NFL training camps and offseason workout programs to give talented minority coaches opportunities to break into the coaching ranks. Reed, the Bills Wall of Famer and seven-time finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, ranked third in NFL history in catches and fourth in yards at the time of his retirement. The minority fellowship candidates don’t have their team assignments yet for this summer's training camps.

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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham | [email protected]


Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan | [email protected]


Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski | [email protected]

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