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Hall of Fame Class of 2014: Andre Reed thrived against all odds

In advance of Saturday night's Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony (7 p.m. ET on NFL Network), NFL Media historian Elliot Harrison is taking a closer look at the seven members of the Class of 2014. Below you'll find five intriguing tidbits about wide receiver Andre Reed.

1) Here's to scouting

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Andre Reed Through the Years

Take a look at the best photos of Andre Reed during his time during and after the NFL.

Andre Reed might be a household name now, but he sure as heck wasn't one coming out of college. Reed was taken in the fourth round of the 1985 NFL Draft -- No. 86 overall, selected one pick after Buster Rhymes. (No, I'm not kidding about that last part.)

Getting a Hall of Fame receiver in Round 4 is one thing, but considering Reed came out of tiny Kutztown University, Buffalo truly uncovered a diamond in the rough. Needless to say, even the most positive thinkers in Kay Stephenson's scouting department couldn't have anticipated that the 13th receiver selected in the '85 draft would go on to catch more than 950 balls in the NFL.

In case you're wondering, Kutztown has produced six NFL players. Two other recognizable names: Bruce Harper and John Mobley. Harper was a special teams terror/do-everything guy for the New York Jets. And for years, his No. 42 jersey was the preferred apparel of "Fireman Ed" (before the Jets superfan "retired" in 2012). Meanwhile, Mobley went 15th overall in the 1996 NFL Draft, earned first-team All-Pro honors at linebacker in '97 and won a pair of Super Bowls with the Denver Broncos.

2) A real draft haul (Hall)

Of course, Reed wasn't the only Hall of Famer Buffalo nabbed in the '85 draft. Eighty-five picks prior to that selection, the Bills took Bruce Smith at No. 1 overall. Two Hall of Famers from the same draft class -- not too shabby, eh? Coincidentally, with Derrick Brooks due for enshrinement Saturday night, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers can also claim such a feat. Ten years after the Bills' double-dip, the Bucs drafted Warren Sapp and Brooks with their first two picks of the '95 event.

Before Reed and Brooks got their respective Hall calls, you had to go all the way back to 1974 to find a draft in which one franchise selected multiple HOFers. That year, the Pittsburgh Steelers snagged four: Lynn Swann (first round), Jack Lambert (second), John Stallworth (fourth) and Mike Webster (fifth).

3) Winter ball

Buffalo isn't exactly the most conducive environment for practicing the modern passing game. Windy conditions -- and freezing cold December home games -- could wreak havoc on the truest of Jim Kelly heaves. That's one of the reasons Reed surprisingly never posted back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons (which, in turn, was a reason Reed had to wait until his eighth year of eligibility before becoming a Hall of Famer).

Don't get too consumed by this quirk, though, as his four 1,000-yard seasons were bordered by five campaigns of 850-plus yards. The reality is that Reed's postseason production (85 catches, five 100-yard games) made his Hall candidacy about more than fantasy numbers.

4) Continuity problems

Do you remember, in the original "Terminator," how Arnold Schwarzenegger's hair would go from the mid-'80s frat guy part to the spiky look ... and back to the bad part again? There was no continuity whatsoever, despite the greatness of the film. That pretty much sums it up for Reed and the Bills' receiving corps. Buffalo's WR2 was hardly ever the same guy, save for one small stretch when James Lofton played opposite Reed. Given all the wide receivers Reed played with, some of whom didn't have a strong on-field rapport with quarterback Jim Kelly, it's a wonder Reed wasn't double-covered and bracketed all the time.

Here's the rundown of Reed's primary sidekicks over the years in Buffalo:

1985: Jerry Butler
1986-87: Chris Burkett
1988: Trumaine Johnson
1989: Keith McKeller
1990-92: James Lofton
1993-94: Don Beebe
1995: Russell Copeland
1996-97: Quinn Early
1998-99: Eric Moulds

Nine guys in 15 years is, uh, not ideal.

5) Grumpy old men

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If there is one thing that most people just flat-out forget about when it comes to Reed's career, it's the fact that it ended with the 2000 Redskins. That year -- Daniel Snyder's second in ownership -- Washington put together an all-star cast ... of big-name players who were past their prime. Reed, former Bills teammate Bruce Smith, Deion Sanders, Mark Carrier and Jeff George all were brought in to take the Redskins, who had lost in the divisional round in 1999, to the next level.

The Over-Over-the-Hill Gang went 8-8, missing the playoffs.

It was a disappointing season for Reed on an individual level, too, as he totaled just 10 catches and one touchdown. And on the day Reed scored, the 36-year-old wasn't even the oldest wide receiver to catch a touchdown pass. Irving Fryar, just a few days shy of his 38th birthday, hauled in a scoring strike from Brad Johnson, as well.

Follow Elliot Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonNFL.

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