NFL: Seven inducted into football Hall of Fame
Canton, Ohio • After delivering an emotionally charged speech that brought both laughter and tears, receiver Andre Reed had one more thing to do to make his Pro Football Hall of Fame induction complete.
Turning his back to the crowd at the podium, Reed caught a pass from former Buffalo Bills teammate and fellow Hall of Famer Jim Kelly on the stage at Fawcett Stadium on Saturday night.
The two then shared a long, emotional hug.
It was a fitting finish for a tandem that set a then-NFL record by hooking up 663 times in Buffalo.
And it was a moment that paid homage to the quarterback, who has spent the past 14 months battling cancer.
Class of 2014
» Derrick Brooks,linebacker
» Ray Guy,punter
» Claude Humphrey,defensive end
» Walter Jones,offensive tackle
» Andre Reed, receiver
» Michael Strahan,defensive end
» Aeneas Williams,defensive back
"You taught us not to quit," Reed said, referring to Kelly. "You have endured a lot in your life. The loss of your son, and most recently your battle with cancer. You’re an inspiration to all you touch."
Kelly was near tears, and the thousands of Bills fans in the crowd cheered.
Even louder cheers went up when Reed delivered a message to any Bills prospective ownership group having an intention of buying and relocating the franchise.
"Oh yeah, and the Bills will stay in Buffalo, too," Reed said.
The Bills are on the block after founder and Hall of Fame owner Ralph Wilson died in March.
And leave it to defensive end Michael Strahan, and his familiar gap-toothed grin, to bring the laughs.
He poked fun at his former New York Giants teammates, such as quarterback Eli Manning’s stoic expressions. He acknowledged being intimidated by Lawrence Taylor during his rookie season in 1993.
And Strahan then turned to "LT," who was among the Hall of Famers on stage and added: "I’m still scared of you."
Strahan, one of the game’s most dominant pass-rushers, also acknowledged former Philadelphia Eagles tackle Jon Runyan, who was in attendance. He referred to Runyan as his toughest opponent, and "300 pounds of steel and non-sex appeal."
The evening featured numerous memorable moments from the seven-member 2014 class of inductees.
Defensive back Aeneas Williams had the fans and fellow Hall of Famers chanting in the stands to give it their all.