BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Andy Reid was ticked off yesterday. He dealt with his anger the way any self-respecting despot in command of a totalitarian regime would - he lashed out at the no-good media.
There we were at Lehigh, waiting for the Eagles coach to voice what had already been reported by journos across the Delaware Valley a few hours earlier - that an MRI exam had revealed that middle linebacker Stewart Bradley has a torn ACL and he's likely out for the season.
Reid refused to discuss Bradley's injury or reveal how long the Eagles expect him to be out of uniform. The reason? A few reporters dared to do their job and call Bradley directly instead of waiting for Reid to spoon-feed them the information.
"I made a pact with you guys when I first got here that I would disclose to you the injuries - just stay away from the players and stay away from other personnel in the organization and I would take care of you with that," Reid said in a huff. "That part was breached."
Despite the fact that Bradley's agent confirmed the ACL tear to several outlets, Reid stubbornly refused to talk about it. Because we apparently broke the "pact."
Reid is clearly confused. It's only a "pact" if all parties agree to enter into it together. What Reid gave all those years ago was actually an order, and that's sort of problematic since the media don't work for him. The man is starting his 11th season in Philly. By now, he probably should have figured out which people he can boss around and which ones he can't.
Here's what happened: Yesterday, WIP-AM's Howard Eskin went on the midday show and cited a source that said Bradley had torn his ACL and is likely done for the year. Not long thereafter, at least two calls were placed to Bradley's cell phone - one by Les Bowen from the Daily News, the other by Brian Seltzer from 950 ESPN. When Bowen called, Bradley's phone was answered by Eagles head athletic trainer Rick Burkholder, who informed Bowen that any discussion of injuries had to go through the head coach. When Seltzer called, Bradley answered and said the same thing - that Reid is the only one who's allowed to speak about injuries. Both calls were brief and respectful.
That's it. That's why Reid is so incensed. He said the media broke the rules - which was so hilarious that a few reporters literally laughed out loud. The only rules we've ever been beholden to are the rules of journalism, and some of us aren't so good at following those, either.
When someone asked why everyone was being punished for the actions of a few, Reid said, "That's the way it works. Peer pressure is the best pressure there is."
I suppose that means he wants us to turn on each other in some bad training-camp adaptation of Lord of the Flies. I feel bad for whoever gets cast as Piggy - things don't work out so well for him.
So when will Reid end this silly charade and talk to us (and you) about Bradley?
"When I decide that people can abide by the rules," Reid said.
His Bill Belichick/Kim Jong Il impersonation would've been a lot more entertaining if he had warmed up the crowd with a joke. Or a championship.
As for Eskin, Bowen and Seltzer - don't blame them. They were just doing what good journos in every city in America do - making phone calls, working sources and digging for facts.
Frankly, that's the truly upsetting thing here. I've been forced to write a column that partially defends Eskin.
I'll never forgive Reid for that.
This is fantastic. Tony Romo told the San Antonio Express-News that earlier in his career he couldn't understand why people were mean to him. "You ask yourself, 'Why would they say something like that? They don't know me,' " Romo said. "Eventually, as you get older, you start to realize not everybody is going to like you. Not everybody is going to want to root for you." That's just crazy talk. Who doesn't root for the Cowboys' starting QB? It's America's team, right? . . . The Business Insider recently compiled a list of the "12 most polluted beaches in the U.S." Four of those - Spring Lake, Point Pleasant, Belmar and Cape May - are in New Jersey. I'm sure you're shocked. . . . At least the players weren't making everyone's job difficult yesterday. While Reid pouted, several Eagles - including Quintin Mikell, Joe Mays and Chris Gocong - talked about losing Bradley. "It's tough," Gocong said. "It's hard losing someone who's literally your vocal leader. Other guys have to step up now. It means we have to adjust."
See? That wasn't so hard. If only the coach acted as professionally as his players.
Contact columnist John Gonzalez at 215-854-2813 or firstname.lastname@example.org.