Three days after Andy Reid found out his son had died, and 24 hours after laying him to rest, the Eagles head coach was back on the practice fields at Lehigh.
“I was a bit surprised, but everybody is entitled to what they want to do, and how they feel,” Vick said. “We don’t know what he’s feeling or his means of dealing with certain things. Everybody deals with situations differently.”
And really, that was all that needed to be said.
Vick saw the same Reid this morning that he was used to. The same guy who took a chance on him in the summer of 2009 after he got out of prison. And the same guy who named him the starting quarterback in September 2010.
“It was great to have coach back,” he said. “We’ve been looking forward to getting him back. We wanted him to take as much time as he needed, but his presence is warmly felt today.
“He’s back with his extended family, his football family. Coach knows that we love him as a man first and as a coach second.”
As practice started, Reid gathered the team and took about one minute delivering instructions. But according to Vick, his message was simple: stay focused, and get ready for the first preseason game against the Steelers Thursday night. Reid’s words were all about what the team needs to concentrate on at this moment, and Vick expects that to be the message going forward.
“Our entire season will be dedicated to Garrett,” Vick said. “And I’m personally dedicating my season to coach and to my teammates. This season will be dedicated to Garrett starting tomorrow.”
Vick wasn’t talking about anything official like a patch or a decal. He was simply expressing how he feels about his coach, the Reid family and the upcoming season, his 10th in the NFL.
“Just to continue to encourage him to stay strong,” Vick said, when asked what he can do to help his coach. “I know what it’s like to lose a family member. I know I’ve reiterated to him on numerous occasions how much I love him.”
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