Super Bowl week is nothing new to Buffalo Bills’ legend and Hall of Fame finalist Andre Reed.
The former wide receiver was there four times in a row with those dominant Bills teams of the 1990’s. So, it’s only natural to ask what his advice would be to young players like Colin Kaepernick, Joe Flacco and Ray Rice, who will be on the game’s biggest stage for the first time.
"What these kids are going through now – the NFL right now and the Super Bowl is so media-packed, it was media-packed when I played, but it’s even more now," he told NFLFemale.com‘s Dayna O’Gorman and Claire Mullins. "It’s up to the individual player to be able to handle the media aspect of it."
"You have fun," he continued, "but you’ve got to be able to differentiate the fun and that you’re on a business trip. It is a business trip. You’re here to win a championship."
Reflecting on his own experiences in the Super Bowl, Reed said, "I went four years in a row, which… will probably never happen again… It was a special time in my life."
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Reed has been a Hall of Fame finalist seven consecutive seasons, but has yet to be elected. When asked what the honor meant to him, he gave credit to the people who got him to where he is today and also contemplated what the game meant to him. "You’re only good as the people around you. I praise my teammates because they made me better."
"What you learn from it is not only just the X’s and O’s," he went on, "but you learn more about life and how to persevere and how to come through adversity… You learn so many things about it that it really is more of a teaching lesson than anything."
But accolades and honors have never meant as much to him as giving back to his community. In paying tribute to his late father, Reed established the Andre Reed Foundation in 2010, whose mission is to provide support for impoverished children in his hometown of Allentown, Pa. and throughout the country by supporting charities like the Boys & Girls Club and the United Way.
Reed’s father told him to never forget where he came from and he honored that advice. "My dad was my biggest advocate, not only on the field, but off the field," he said. "If I had to model myself by anybody, my dad would be it."
"I take full pride and full advantage of my situation because I do want to make a difference and I do want to do things for people that are not only less fortunate, but for kids that were like me," he said, "and I think that athletes really get a bad rap. All you hear are the bad things, but there are so many different athletes that do a lot of good things for people."
This June, the Foundation will hold its 4th annual Celebrity Golf Classic in Allentown, where celebrities and athletes alike raise money for local charities in the Lehigh Valley area and across the country. With everything he’s achieved as an NFL player, the foundation is one of his proudest accomplishments.
"We do great things and we make a difference," he said. "That’s my legacy and I don’t think I could do it any other way than that."
Source : cbsnews[dot]com