Thursday, April 24, 2014
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Eagles Working Through Tragedy

BETHLEHEM -- Eagles players and coaches returned to the practice field Monday, again without head coach Andy Reid. They spoke of their coach's pain over losing his oldest son, Garrett, and they spoke of their own encounters with the 29-year-old assistant strength coach.

Eagles Working Through Tragedy

Center Jason Kelce said Garrett Reid was doing a lot of research about strength training. (David Maialetti/Staff Photographer)
Center Jason Kelce said Garrett Reid was doing a lot of research about strength training. (David Maialetti/Staff Photographer)

BETHLEHEM -- Eagles players and coaches returned to the practice field Monday, again without head coach Andy Reid. They spoke of their coach's pain over losing his oldest son, Garrett, and they spoke of their own encounters with the 29-year-old assistant strength coach.

"The whole day (Sunday) nothing felt right," safety Kurt Coleman said. Coleman said Jason Avant led the prayer on the field Sunday after players were officially informed that Garrett Reid had died.

"It was just a prayer to just kind of help us, because everything was new to us, we had just heard about it -- for God to watch over him at this difficult time, and to give us strength to push on," Coleman said.

Avant said reaction to the tragedy taught him something about how Andy Reid is viewed.

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"You can tell how great a man is when the cafeteria workers are asking about him, when the security staff up here at Lehigh are going out of their way to sign cards and different things like that," Avant said.

Center Jason Kelce said Garrett Reid was doing a lot of research about strength training, during his time working as an assistant to Birds strength coach Barry Rubin. "I think that his goal, to one day be in that area, as a head guy ... He was good at it," Kelce said.

"I don't want to get into his past," Kelce said, when asked if Garrett Reid ever spoke of his struggles with drugs and incarceration. "I think that's been gone into enough. All I can speak on is Garrett as an individual and a person I knew. There wasn't a single guy who was a better person, day-in and day-out toward everybody on the team, wanted to see everybody succeed, genuinely wanted to see the team win. He was awesome, every single day for us."

Linebacker Casey Matthews said he didn't even know Garrett was Andy's son when they first met, in the weight room.

"It wasn't 'til later you realized who he was and that he had a past," Matthews said. "The way I knew him, it was hard to see that he'd had a past."

Matthews said Garrett Reid would sometimes refer to having been imprisoned. "We would never bring it up. He would," Matthews said. "It definitely seemed like he was past all that. The ay he carried himself, it seemed like he was."

Kelce talked about how hard this must be for the Reid family. He said Tammy Reid, Garrett's mother and Andy's wife, was on the West Coast -- the Reids have a home in Dana Point, Calif., -- and had to fly across the country after hearing the news.

Players said they knew something was wrong early Sunday, when emergency vehicles huddled around the C Building at the Sayre Park dorm complex, where the team stays at Lehigh. Kelce said that since the coaches stay in that building, he thought perhaps something had happened to one of them. Word soon filtered out that it was Garrett Reid, though many players didn't know Reid was dead until they gathered on the field Sunday, about an hour after the 7:20 am 911 call to Lehigh Police.

Several players said Andy Reid spoke to the team around noon Sunday. He is expected to rejoin the Eagles after Garrett's Tuesday funeral.

'I have three kids of my own, I have a son. I can only imagine," quarterback Michael Vick said, his voice trailing off. "It just makes you want to strengthen the relationships you have, enjoy each and every day, not take life for granted," Vick said.

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