The timing is right for Andre Reed to pursue the next phase of his career.
The Buffalo Bills' Hall of Fame wide receiver was on the field Tuesday as the team opened its three-day mandatory minicamp in his new role as a coaching intern.
"I had a feeling I wanted to do something after I was done play. Even before that, but my kids were too small," Reed said after practice. "They're older now, so I can devote more time to it."
Reed is one of seven coaches who will spend training camp with the Bills as part of the 2015 Bill Walsh Minority Coaching Fellowship. Introduced by Walsh to the NFL in 1987, the program exposes minority coaches to the methods and philosophies of NFL training camps.
Reed previously participated with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2013, but said he feels "a little more comfortable here."
"Nothing against Andy Reid and his staff, they welcomed me and I had a great time there," he said. "But when you come somewhere where you played and you have some roots, it's like you're home."
Reed said head coach Rex Ryan and wide receivers coach Sanjay Lal have given him free reign to work with the players the best way he sees how.
"I told the guys, 'look here, if you need anything -- it doesn't even have to be about football' -- I'm just opening myself up to them if they want to talk to me about anything," Reed said. "I'm not an expert on anything, but if they want to talk to me about anything they're going through ... as far as off the field or on the field, I think I can help them out."
Reed spent 15 of his 16 seasons in Buffalo and is the Bills' all-time leader in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns. He said the nature of the NFL game has evolved since he retired, but the mechanics of the position are largely the same.
"You still have to run, block, tackle, catch," he said before admitting "it's a little more complex than it was when I played."
Working with the Bills affords Reed with the opportunity to instruct a player many hope can one day be talked about along with him as one of the franchise's all-time greats in Sammy Watkins. Reed gushed about Watkins' potential.
"We've just got to give him the ball," he said. "I've known him for a couple years, but today we really talked a lot about some stuff. I told him that's what I'm here for. I'm here to get you to the next level. Whatever you need to do, let's get it done."
Reed jumped right in on his first day, spending time working after practice with some receivers against cornerback Stephon Gilmore.
"The smallest things really put you over the top," he said. "When you do the extra work and all that kind of stuff, it makes a difference in how you practice and how you go out and play the games.
"This is a talented group of receivers we have here. These guys got such a great upside of doing some special things this year on offense. It should be exciting to see."
As for where Reed hopes to end up after his internship, he's leaving his options open.
"I don't know if you call it getting my feet wet," he said. "Who knows what's going to happen? I think if I continue to do this and I want to pursue it, there's no reason why I can't be a coach somewhere. If not here, in college, or wherever.
"I'm not here just to pass time. This is something that I want to do. If I want to do it, I usually go 100 percent in what I want to do, and I usually attain it."