Andre Reed had no idea what was about to come.
The Buffalo Bills’ Hall of Fame wide receiver tweeted Thursday afternoon about meeting Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen before the start of the NFL Draft.
“Your future legacy is hours away,” Reed wrote.
Little did he know, that legacy would be with the Bills, who traded up to the seventh overall pick to take Allen.
“He’s very ready to go,” Reed said Friday from Dallas. “It’s a dream come true for him. It’s something he’s worked for since he was a little kid. When I got drafted, it was the same thing. The quarterback position, there’s going to be a lot thrown at you right away. I’m sure the moment he got to Buffalo, it was, ‘here’s the playbook. Let’s go.’ ”
Reed is aware that not all Bills fans – or even most of them – are on board with the selection of Allen. His advice to them: “Give him a little bit of time. He's not going to just blow it out the box like Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota, where they put him right in there. The learning curve for a quarterback is a lot different than any other position. With the offensive coordinator and Sean McDermott, it's a good fit for him. He's not going to be expected to be the guy right away.”
Reed has seen plenty of quarterbacks come through Buffalo since Jim Kelly retired in 1996. He’s hoping this one is different.
“They picked EJ Manuel a couple years ago and that did not pan out the way they hoped it would,” he said. “I think we've all got to have a pretty open mind about things and be positive. There's going to be a learning curve he has to go through, but you've got to be patient, man. It's hard to be patient in this league. You want guys, as soon as they come in, you want them to be ‘that’ player. There's going to be a lot thrown at him, but I think he'll be able to handle it.”
Allen acknowledged he faced a learning curve but said he was eager to get to work.
I’m ready to jump into the quarterback room with Nathan [Peterman] and AJ [McCarron]," Allen said. "I’m going to learn from them; they’ve been in the league for, Nate a year, AJ’s been in the league for a few years now, so I'll taking and picking apart whatever I can from those two guys, learning from the coaches, and, like I said, just competing every day, trying to earn a spot.
"My goal is to help this team win football games, whether that’s being the starter day one, game six, game ten, a year from now, two years from now, or just being a backup to AJ or Nate. That’s what I’m going to be; I’m going to be the best teammate possible."
Reed, who was in Dallas to announce the Bills’ second-round draft pick (before it was traded away), said he was unaware of the controversy surrounding Allen’s Twitter activity that was unearthed late Wednesday night and included racist and homophobic language.
“I had no idea,” he said. “When he lands in Buffalo, the first thing they're going to talk about is some of the things he said early in his life. I didn't know about that talking to him, until later, but I don't think that has anything to do with how he throws a comeback route or a deep ball. ... It's up to him to go out and play football -- be the guy they moved up for.”
Allen called Reed a “fantastic guy” who was a “hell of a football player.”
“He's a really solid dude just down to the core,” he said. “He cares about players. I talked to him a lot. We talked about Buffalo, and somehow I ended up here. It's kind of weird to see how things come full circle sometimes.”
Allen, and Virginia Tech linebacker Tremaine Edmunds, got the usual first-round treatment Friday, flying from Dallas to Buffalo (on a private jet), touring the team’s headquarters and posing for the usual photos inside New Era Field.
“You know, it's something that I always wanted,” Allen said. “To say that I was sitting there, knowing it was going to happen, I couldn't say that. You know, it was a long road, a long journey. It was very frustrating at times, but at the end, you know, I'm sitting here, I'm talking to you guys, I'm sitting next to a damn good football player right here. I've been blessed in my life with the support group that I have, my family, the coaching staffs and the teammates that I've been around, it's just been phenomenal.”
Allen again addressed the most frequent criticism of his play: Accuracy. He completed just 56 percent of his passes over the last two seasons.
“It's my feet,” he said. “I definitely think everything up top in your throwing motion is directly linked to your feet, so the last three, four months, I've been working with Jordan Palmer, we've been trying to make that as consistent as possible, just trying to quiet the lower half. Making sure everything is consistent. When I'm on time, I'm on platform, when I'm trusting my guys around me, I'm as accurate as anybody.”