2014 Hall of Fame: YAC separates Andre Reed

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Yards after the catch separated Andre Reed from defenders during his playing career, and should do the same in his battle for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Yards after the catch is tracked in the NFL now, but it wasn't at the beginning of Andre Reed's career. The former Buffalo Bills receiver is one of 15 finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, with this year's class of inductees determined on February 1. Reed's propensity for yards after catch will be discussed at the selection meeting, if these quotes are any indication.

"We used to call Andre Reed 'YAC' - not because he talked a lot, (because of) yards after catch," Levy told Buffalo Rumblings in late 2012. "I don't think there's ever been a better yards after catch receiver. Some fourth-rounder out of Kutztown State was the third-most prolific receiver in the history game by the time he retired, and he had to share receiving with guys like [Hall of Fame inductee James] Lofton and [Don] Beebe."

"Most people that were on that team or played against us will remember how explosive he was in run-after-the-catch," said former Bills quarterback Frank Reich in 2011. "He rivaled Jerry Rice in that category. Like Jerry Rice, his 40 time was good and probably not great. But there was nobody faster with the ball in his hands."

With inflated passing numbers, Reed wouldn't touch the YAC totals from this season's leaders - including Demaryius Thomas in Denver, who finished with 633 yards after catch and 6.9 YAC per reception. Reed was never higher than 5.2 YAC per reception after the league began keeping track of the stat in 1993, but he and Rice revolutionized the way receivers were able to gain yards for their offenses.

"He was really good at running the short route and turning it into a long gain," said fellow wide receiver Steve Tasker on the Hall of Fame's website. "Jim (Kelly) loved it because it was an easy throw for a lot of yards. We all loved it because he could turn a nothing five-yard completion into a 65-yard touchdown. That's what Andre's gift was."

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