CANTON, OH – Andre Reed said he thought he was speaking off the record a few weeks ago when a reporter from New York magazine asked him what he thought about Bon Jovi being part of a Toronto-based ownership group possibly buying the Bills and moving the team north of the border.
"Man, (expletive) Bon Jovi," Reed said. "You might as well just take this city, throw it in the river, and let it go down Niagara Falls" if the Bills ever left town.
Reed also made reference to Browns rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel, and how Reed thinks he should tone his act down until he actually does something in the NFL.
Reed was asked about those pointed remarks, which got plenty of run in print and online mediums such as Twitter and Facebook, as well as talk time on radio and TV, during his press conference Friday at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
"Those comments were off the record," Reed said. "This guy from the magazine ended up printing what I said. I would not say that to be printed in a magazine. I said that stuff, thinking the guy wouldn't put it in there. He was looking for a story, and he put it in there. I have nothing against Bon Jovi. I've got nothing against Johnny Manziel. I don't even know him."
In the next breath, though, Reed had every opportunity to retract what he said, but did not.
"On the other end of that, Johnny Manziel is a rookie; he hasn't done anything yet. And people in Buffalo don't want Bon Jovi to buy the team and move it. So basically I said stuff people would maybe say. It happened, and I apologize to Bon Jovi and I apologize to Johnny Manziel. I meant nothing about it."
Reed has followed the potential sale of the team closely, and like everyone in western New York, he's anxious about what the future holds. He joined the Buffalo Fan Alliance, a group of dedicated fans fighting to ensure that the team stays in Buffalo, as an advisory board member, and he has pledged to be active in the organization's mission.
"I spent half my life up there, the team is important to me, the city is important to me, the region's important to me, and I would do anything to have a voice to keep that team there," he said. "If I can be a voice for the fans, that's what I'm going to do."
Reed attended the Ray Nitschke Luncheon earlier in the day, an event that only Hall of Famers are allowed to attend. Not even commissioner Roger Goodell is invited, and the exclusivity of the club Reed is joining this weekend really hit him.
"You can't pay your way into that room," Reed said. "To be a part of that ... we had our own table, all the Bills (Jim Kelly, Bruce Smith, Thurman Thomas, James Lofton, and Marv Levy were all there) sat at one table and that made me feel so special about what this means, not only to me as a player, but what those guys mean to me and how they helped to get me to Canton.
"From being here the past couple days, you are treated like royalty and you're part of a fraternity that you can't get cut from, you're part of it for the rest of your life. It just means, is it a validation of my career."