The NFLPA Collegiate Bowl Presented by Winnol went down this past Saturday at The Home Depot Center on the campus of California State University Dominguez Hills in Carson, California. This week we are continuing to expand on our coverage of the game—from player and coach interviews to videos, photos and highlights. For more on the game, follow @NFLPABowl on Twitter.
The buzz surrounding the recent NFLPA Collegiate Bowl was undeniable. More than 100 college athletes from all over the country assembled at The Home Depot Center and did their best to impress NFL scouts in attendance as some of the league’s former stars looked on with interest.
Andre Reed, in fact, was one of the more recognizable faces on the sidelines during the practices leading up the game this past weekend. The one-time Buffalo Bills receiver was approached by players seeking advice and the 16-year veteran was accommodating. Having been in a similar situation once before, Reed provided much-needed guidance, seemingly with no reservations.
Speaking of reservations, chances are that Reed made tentative plans for induction to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio after retiring at the turn of the new millennium, in 2000, as a member of the Washington Redskins. His other time in the NFL was spent in Buffalo, of course.
Patience is a virtue, as they so often say, and Reed knows this all too well. Eight years now, he’s waited for the call to the Hall of Fame. Each time, however, the opportunity was denied by the proverbial powers that be. Nevertheless, Reed is among the finalists for the Class of 2013 and the competition this time around is no joke, with Chris Carter and Tim Brown also eligible for induction.
The NFLPA Collegiate Bowl was one of the topics we touched on with Reed when took the time to talk with us. Enshrinement was another point of discussion, though he wasn’t terribly forthcoming. Suppose it’s understandable given his time spent on the waiting list for Canton. Reed, however, was more than willing to share his opinion about the recent hiring of Bills coach Doug Marrone.
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TD Daily: Can you talk about your involvement with the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl?
Andre Reed: Once a part of the NFLPA, always a part of the NFLPA. It’s camaraderie. As a veteran, it’s important to give back and share some experiences. The athletes here today, I was one of them before, a player hoping for a break. These guys should be proud—and humbled—to be a part of this game. It’s another avenue for chasing dreams. The former players and coaches—we’re showing the youngster generation what it’s like. Give them a taste of what it’s like at the next level.
TD: Darrell Green is a coach for the American Team at the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl. I imagine the two of you had some interesting encounters back in the day when he was a defensive back for the Washington Redskins. What was it like lining up against him and going toe-to-toe?
AR: We had some battles. Darrell was one of the best to play the game.
TD: The Bills had some great teams. Do you still think about your playing days?
AR: I have been retired for almost 13 years. The last time I put on helmet was a long time ago. I spent my whole career in Buffalo, basically, and have a lot of fond memories about the city and the organization. I played with a special bunch of guys. It was a special time for me.
TD: Your teammates Jim Kelly and Thurman Thomas were both inducted to the Hall of Fame. With 951 receptions for 13,198 yards and 87 touchdowns, your numbers appear to be worthy of some serious consideration for Canton. Think you’ll be inducted anytime soon?
AR: It’s not up to me. It would be nice to be recognized. Any player that doesn’t think that way is lying. My time will come, hopefully. Until then, I’d rather not talk about it.
TD: You’ve been to seven Pro-Bowls and four Super Bowls—it’s difficult to think the powers that be at the Hall of Fame would not take a closer look at all the facts. If you don’t make the cut, would it be a major disappointment and how do you deal with that whole scenario?
AR: I put in the work. My resume speaks for itself and compares with guys in the Hall of Fame already. I’m not worried. Not much I can do. It’s in someone else’s hands.
TD: The past is in the past. Wish you luck in the future, regardless. Given the fact we’re looking ahead, what are your thoughts about the Bills and the direction of the organization? Owner Ralph Wilson gave the keys to car to CEO Russ Brandon and he hired Marrone as coach.
AR: When management hired the new guy, I was surprised, yes. But change is good. Coach Marrone is a Syracuse guy and was the Saints offensive coordinator before that. If Russ feels he’s the right guy for the job, so be it. Marrone has to get things done now. I have no doubt he’ll do fine and run a good program. I’m looking forward to see how he does. So are the Buffalo fans.
Sean Ceglinsky is TDdaily contributor based in Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter at @seanceglinsky.