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Andy Reid celebrates birthday in style

PHOENIX -- Andy Reid celebrated his 55th birthday Tuesday by sitting down at a breakfast table to be quizzed by half a dozen reporters from Philadelphia.

Andy Reid celebrates birthday in style

Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid. (Charlie Riedel/AP)
Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid. (Charlie Riedel/AP)

PHOENIX -- Andy Reid celebrated his 55th birthday Tuesday by sitting down at a breakfast table to be quizzed by half a dozen reporters from Philadelphia.

"I've missed you guys," Reid said, his mustache twitching just a bit.

The sign on the table displayed a Kansas City Chiefs helmet next to Reid's name, but there were no KC reporters in sight for the AFC coaches' breakfast, at the NFL Meetings in the Arizona Biltmore hotel. Different city, different media market.

One of the first things the Philly scibes wanted was to get Reid's reaction to the Eagles moving training camp from Lehigh to NovaCare. The league has been trending toward practice-facility training camps for years now; lots of observers thought Reid's preference for getting away was the only thing that kept the Birds' move from happening sooner. Team chairman Jeffrey Lurie said Monday that every coach the team interviewed as Reid's replacement preferred a "seamless" camp at the practice facility; Lurie didn't spell out that this was new coach Chip Kelly's preference, but it was implied.

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'I enjoyed going away, but I can see the pluses in staying," said Reid, who was the coach for the last 14 of the Eagles' 17 Lehigh camps. "I enjoyed getting out and going up there. Everybody's got their own way of doing it. Chip's going to put his own mark on things. I think he'll be very good; he's a good football coach, he knows what he wants and he'll go about it the way he wants to do it."

Asked if he would have kept camp at Lehigh, had he not been dismissed, Reid said he didn't know "where we were with the contract part of it." The Eagles renewed their contract each year at the end of camp, and paid installments to Lehigh this offseason before pulling the plug. They are expected to further compensate Lehigh for backing out of this year's agreement.

"I hadn't really gotten that far," before getting the axe, Reid said.

Reid also was asked about quarterback Nick Foles. He reiterated what he'd said at the NFL Scouting Combine -- that the Eagles made it clear Foles was not going to be available, and that the Chiefs set their sights on the more experienced Alex Smith right out of the gate, anyway.

Reid said there are probably eight to 10 players the Chiefs are considering with the first overall pick in next month's draft.

He was asked about the conversation he had with Kelly when the Eagles were trying to convince Kelly to come to Phiiladephia from Oregon.

Reid said Lurie asked him to call Kelly, and that he was happy to do so.

"As a coach, you want your players to be taken care of. You want them to have a good coach," Reid said. "Those are all kids that we kind of recruited there, drafted there, brought there. You wanted them to have something positive. I think Chip's a good football coach, I think it'll work out great for him. I think he put himself into a good organization."

Reid spoke at length about Kelly, who will talk to reporters tomorrow, at the NFC coaches' breakfast.

"He's a creative guy," Reid said. "He's got different creative and innovative ideas. He's got a great relationship with (NIKE chairman) Phil Knight, so he's on the cutting edge of all their technology. I think he'll bring that into the league. I think most of what he does will work at this level. I think he's going to blend it -- he brought Pat Shurmur on (as offensive coordinator). I think they'll kind of blend a little bit of the pro style with what (Kelly) does, with the spread. I think the tempo stuff will translate, that he uses."

Les Bowen Daily News Staff Writer
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