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(Photos courtesy of the Buffalo Bills)

Talk of Fame Network

It took Andre Reed nine years, including eight as a finalist, to reach the Hall of Fame, and there’s a feeling that he might have – OK, would have – made it sooner had the Bills won one of the four Super Bowls they reached with him.

But they didn’t. So Reed waited. And waited. And waited … until he was elected in 2014.

Now that he’s in Canton, we asked him if he thought as others have – namely, that he might’ve gotten there had Buffalo not lost four straight NFL championship games. Reed was as patient with his reply as the Hall's board of selectors were with his candidacy.

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“Hindsight’s 20-20 now,” he said on the latest Talk of Fame Network radio program, “and I can say now that waiting nine years is a long time. Last year in the class I went in, Claude Humphrey was 28 years (and) Ray Guy was 23 years. To me, it doesn’t really matter how long it was. Sometimes things take a little more time than they should, and you’ve just got to be patient.

“My Dad taught me about patience and what it means. Because in this world now everybody wants things right away. I’m not going to hang my head and say, ‘Well, if we had won one or two Super Bowls I would’ve been in on the first ballot or the second ballot.’ Would it have made a difference? Maybe. But hindsight’s 20-20 right now. So it doesn’t really matter.”

Reed was a fourth-round draft pick out of Kutztown, and he’s part of the Talk of Fame Network’s Countdown to the Draft series – with this week’s focus on the fourth round. Reed said he’d been told he might be drafted anywhere from the third round to the sixth, so when he was the 86th player chosen in the 1985 draft he had no complaints.

“At that time it was just: Give me a chance,” he said. “And that’s all I’ve wanted. My agent (Jack Wirth) did some real good work with me. He really kept me calm. It wasn’t known that a player would get drafted that high from a small school and a small town. So he really kept me grounded. The process was nerve-wracking, as it is for every player. But I just wanted a chance to play.

“Football has been my whole life, the foundation of my whole life and what kind of person I am and what kind of person I want my kids to be. I’m very grateful to the game and what the game has given to me, not only on the field but what it has given me off the field. And it all started back in college … and even before that.”