Jim Kelly and Andre Reed share emotional final pass

Posted Aug 3, 2014 by Greta McClain
Each of the enshrinement speeches given by the seven NFL Hall of Fame inductees brought emotion, however none were as poignant as Andre Reed's tribute to fellow Hall of Famer Jim Kelly.
Andre Reed and Jim Kelly embrace after Kelly throws one final pass to his former wide receiver.
Andre Reed and Jim Kelly embrace after Kelly throws one final pass to his former wide receiver.
Screen Capture
Wide receiver Andre Reed sent his entire 16-year career as a Buffalo Bill. During his career Reed was a seven-time Pro Bowler, he scored 87 touchdowns, accumulated 13,198 in receiving yards and caught 951 passes. Many of those passes, 663 of them to be exact, were from Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly.
Reed was one of seven inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame on Saturday. During his football career he was known for his toughness, his tenacity and his desire. On Saturday, Reed became known for his humility, his genuineness and his sense of gratitude.
Introduced by his former quarterback, Reed began his enshrinement speech by thanking God and current Hall of Famers for their sacrifice and for representing excellence both on and off the football field. He then thanked his father for teaching him the value of patience, saying "Dad, you were right." Reed continued, thanking his mother, former coaches and players. But it was when he made reference to a former teammate that the crowd, made up mainly of Buffalo Bills fans, began to sense how special this moment was. Saying his career didn't take off "until something called the K Gun came out of nowhere" sparked boisterous cheers from the crowd. Reed then acknowledged that he was known for his toughness before turning to Kelly and saying, "but the toughest individual I've ever met in my life was Jim Kelly, No. 12."
Kelly has spent the past 14 months battling cancer. In June 2013 Kelly had part of his upper jaw removed due to the cancer. He underwent weeks of aggressive chemotherapy and radiation treatments, and doctors believed the cancer was gone. A few months later Kelly began having severe headaches and tests reveled the cancer had returned. Kelly has undergone more treatments and shared his battle with world. Last month he told reporters:
“I’m not scared. I've never been scared of dying. I’m 54 years old. I've been through so many things in my life. I've set goals. I've achieved goals. I've had a blast."
It is that attitude, that toughness in the face of adversity that Reed said he admires. Addressing Kelly directly Reed said:
"How do I find the words to say anything about you? You're the reason why I'm standing here today. Your belief in me that I could get the job done anytime will resonate with me for the rest of my life. Jim, you have endured a lot in your life, the loss of a son, and most recently your battle with cancer. You're an inspiration to all those you touch. I'm honored to call you my teammate, my friend, and my family member, and now a fellow Hall of Famer. I love you, man."
A teary eyed Kelly responded by saying "I love you too." It was a moment that had many in the crowd, and undoubtedly many watching from home, equally moved.
After Reed finished his speech, Kelly walked onto the podium. Many believed Kelly was going to hug and congratulate Reed. Such an exchange would have to wait however. Instead, Kelly stood at the back of the stage, football in hand. Reed began to trot towards the front of the stage as Kelly threw one final pass to his former teammate. The former teammates then embraced as the crowd came to their feet and began to cheer both Reed and Kelly. It was a fitting ending and a moment that will not soon be forgotten by those who witnessed it.