I was typing away in the media trailer here at Lehigh early Sunday morning when a fellow reporter and I noticed the team kneeling down in prayer on one of the fields prior to their walkthrough. It was Sunday but this is not custom, so I went to take a look.
The players appeared shaken — no one more so that Jon Dorenbos, who stayed on one knee as the rest of the team dispersed and began trying to go about their business. He eventually made it to the sidelines but remained in a meditative state for as long as my eyes were on him.
A scan of the rest of the field revealed that there was no Andy Reid. A short time later we discovered why: his oldest son, Garrett, was found dead that morning in the Sayre Park dormitories.
Howie Roseman was charged with delivering the news to the media. You could see that he was using all his strength to get through it, then all but collapsed into the arms of trainer Rick Burkholder once his duty had been carried out.
Jeffrey Lurie had to stop in the middle of his statement, overcome with emotion when talking about Andy Reid as a family man. Players walked with heads down. Fans watched practice without barely making a sound.
This is a day that won’t soon leave those who were witness to it. We all felt the crushing heartbreak of an organization wounded. Saw just how much the team cares and aches for their leader.
Our deepest condolences to Andy Reid, the Reid family and the entire Eagles organization.
WHAT YOU MISSED
Here is the full story on the passing of Garrett Reid. Sheil does a great job of bringing the scene surrounding the afternoon practice to life, complete with quotes from Michael Vick, Nnamdi Asomugha and Jason Avant.
Lurie surprised many of us by announcing that Reid intends to return to coaching this week.
Finally, here is a link to a Philly Mag exclusive about Garrett Reid and a family’s trials from January of 2008.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
Jeff McLane did a very nice job with this piece on Andy Reid, the father. Some personal notes that really help paint the picture.
Jason Cole of Yahoo Sports was able to reach Brad Childress, who was clearly out of sorts.
“I’m having a hard time getting my head around this one. I’m sorry, that’s about all I have to say.”
Ray Didinger, as you might expect, provided great perspective and gave us this anecdote of a day when Reid raced to see Garrett play a high school football game.
Reid made it to the game with time to spare and was greeted with a standing ovation as he climbed the bleacher steps. The Eagles had upset Dallas the previous week, 41-14, so the coach was a popular guy. Other parents came over to talk and shake his hand, but he was more interested in watching Garrett play.
When the game ended, Garrett came to the fence where his parents were standing. Andy gave Garrett a hug and said, “Nice job, G.” He was just like any other father hugging his son after a high school football game.
I’ve always remembered that moment because it was so warm and genuine.
And it has never seemed sadder than now.
Football goes on at Reid’s request. With Marty Mornhinweg essentially at the helm, the Eagles will hold an 8:15 walkthrough and a practice in the afternoon at 2:45.