The Reid family, the Eagles and the NFL said goodbye to Garrett Reid, eldest son of Eagles coach Andy Reid, Tuesday in a 90-minute service held at the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints in Broomall.
A church spokeswoman said about 900 people filled the facility, which she said contains the largest LDS chapel in the Philadelphia area. The chapel, the adjoining gym and all other rooms contained mourners, some watching on closed-circuit TV. Buses brought players from training camp at Lehigh and workers from the NovaCare complex.
"It was a combination of tremendous grief and tremendous love, and of course, they go hand in hand," Eagles chairman Jeffrey Lurie said afterward. "A lot of tears, and a lot of joy, in terms of remembering Garrett ... The sense of Garrett was [as] just a joyous person, upbeat, who brought everybody up ... loyal to his friends. Somebody who enjoyed life, with challenges, but somebody who always was there for his friends."
Lurie, who teared up speaking of the team's love for its coach, said that as far as the Eagles are concerned, Andy Reid can stay away from football as long as he wants, "but that's not what he wants, he wants to get right back in there." Lurie said "all indications are" that Reid will be on the sideline Thursday night when the Eagles open their preseason at home against the Steelers.
Garrett Reid, 29, a strength and conditioning assistant for the team, was found dead in a Lehigh dorm room Sunday morning. No cause of death has been released, but he had been incarcerated several times from 2007 through 2009 over drug issues, and the Reid family released a statement Monday saying Garrett "lost his ongoing battle" with drugs.
Among Tuesday's attendees were Patriots coach Bill Belichick and Saints interim coach Joe Vitt, whose squads were to scrimmage one another hours later. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and Browns president Mike Holmgren also mourned the Reid family's loss.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh, a former Eagles assistant, said the service gave "a sense of [Garrett's] spirit for life ... the one thing I took [from the service] more than anything was that Garrrett was a friend of everybody. The kids at school that were kind of struggling a little bit, he was their friend. The guys that were picked last for the basketball team, he was their friend. He would take everybody under his wing. That's a trait I think he gets from Andy."
Crosby Reid, one of Garrett's two sisters, sang a hymn Garrett loved, "My Heavenly Father Loves Me." Garrett's uncle Bart Winters, husband of Tammy Reid's sister, Cindy Winters, delivered the eulogy.
Harbaugh said Crosby Reid's rendition of the hymn "was beautiful."
Holmgren, the head coach in Green Bay when the Packers won the Super Bowl with Reid as an assistant, has known Andy and Tammy since shortly after they married, and knew Garrett almost his entire life.
"He was a little rambunctious guy when I first met him," Holmgren said. "He had a great personality. That family, the kids, they were pretty active, now. I can remember going over to dinner when I was recruiting, Andy was at San Francisco State, we'd sit around the table, the blessing was over, the food, it was like Star Wars, you know? But it was a lot of fun. My thoughts and prayers are with the family right now."
"Andy prides himself on being a rock. All of us in this business have to be like that a little bit. But when it comes to something as personal as this, his humanness and who he is comes out, and that's OK," Holmgren said. "He reacted like every other father would react."