TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Eighteen years later and now headed to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Derrick Brooks laughs at the memory of sitting in a hotel room the morning of a game early in his career.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2014 gets inducted on Saturday. Shutdown Corner will profile the seven new Hall of Famers this week, looking at each of their careers and their impact on the game.
Andre Reed Buffalo Bills, 1985-1999 Buffalo Bills, 2000 Washington Redskins Wide receiver
The 1993 season was not Reed’s best by any means — he had 11 seasons in the NFL with more catches, eight seasons with more receiving yards and five more years with more touchdowns. But Reed’s playoff performance in the Bills’ wild-card victory over the Houston Oilers was one of the best in one of the biggest comebacks in NFL history.
The Oilers led 35-3 in the third quarter and looked to be doomed with quarterback Jim Kelly hurt and backup Frank Reich taking his place. But after the Bills cut the lead to 35-17, Reed started to take over. He caught touchdown passes of 26 and 18 yards in the third quarter and a 17-yard score in the fourth to give the Bills the lead in a game they eventually would win in overtime.
The three receiving touchdowns are tied for the most in NFL playoff history, and Reed finished the game with eight receptions for 136 yards, the second-highest playoff yardage total he put up in his 21 postseason games. The highest total would come four weeks after the dramatic Oilers comeback, but it would come in a losing effort in Super Bowl XXVII — the third of four straight Bills losses in the championship game.
Impact on the game
At the time of his retirement after the 2000 season, Reed ranked third all time in receptions with 951 and his 13 seasons with 50 or more catches is tied for second most in NFL history, behind only Jerry Rice. Reed now ranks 11th in receptions all time (with the 10 men ranked ahead of him all retiring after him) and 13th in receiving yards with 13,198.
Considering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers added 40 new players since he was hired, Lovie Smith has trimmed a lot of fat from the roster. Smith didn’t stop there. Smith gave players a directive: become lighter and quicker before training camp or suffer the consequences. Seven pounds were shed by middle linebacker Mason Foster.