Former Players Get Personal About Reid

With the Andy Reid era coming to a close, we reached out to a handful of former Reid players in hopes they would share a personal story about their old coach, and to get their thoughts on where it went wrong.

Here is what they had to say:

CORRELL BUCKHALTER

Where it went wrong: “To be honest I don’t think they have a definite leader on the team. We had several leaders – [Brian] Dawkins, Troy Vincent, Hugh Douglas, [Jeremiah] Trotter – and I think that’s something they’re lacking on this team. They have all the ability but don’t have the leadership.”

Personal moment:  “I haven’t shared this outside of my teammates: My rookie year we were playing Arizona and I broke a run for 30, 40 yards. We called timeout. I ran to the sideline and Andy said, ‘Come here, Buck.’ I ran over to him and he said, ‘I want you to hold onto this ball like it’s your girlfriend’s [breast]. I was laughing. That is one thing I will never, ever forget. It just goes to show how much of a player coach he is.”

BRIAN MITCHELL

Where it went wrong: The difference I see right now is they don’t have a lot of guys on the team that were built in-house. When I came most guys were in-house, guys who weren’t making a lot of money and still felt in a sense that they had a lot to prove. Now you have guys like DRC, Nnamdi, guys not living up to expectation. You have no leaders now. I don’t think anything changed about [Reid].”

Personal moment: “When I first got to Philly I had never met any coach that reminded me of Joe Gibbs. I watched him move, I saw the respect he had for his coaches and players, how he allowed men to be men. I said, ‘You remind me of Coach Gibbs.’ He was so floored by that, and he said, ‘Well now I have a lot to live up to.’ And I said, ‘I’ll be watching you.’ He was unbelievable. It was close but he is the second best coach I have ever been around.”

FREDDIE MITCHELL

Where it went wrong: “You look at how many coaches he had leave. He had a blueprint built to perfection; he built the organization from the ground up.  And then his best workers left. You can’t be as good as you once were because you have players leaving and coaches leaving. You have a Ferrari and then you start taking the tires off, taking away parts. The NFL has stripped him.”

Personal moment:  “Andy was so awesome that he would know the names of all my girlfriends. If I had any situation I would  talk to him and he was like, ‘How is Sarah doing? How is Patty doing?’ He would never forget any of my women. He paid attention to so much detail, and I could always call him and get his advice… He was our dad. If there was a statement to say, it’s that you will never find a coach that loves the game more than Andy Reid.”

TRA THOMAS

Where it went wrong: “I think the team didn’t jell the way everybody expected it to. On paper everyone thought this was a championship team. It had all the tools but it just didn’t click. Was it Coach Reid’s fault? I don’t think so. He presented the game plan the same way and for some reason the guys just didn’t take to it and couldn’t get it to function.”

Personal moment: “Over the years Andy was always there for me. There was never an instance where I couldn’t go into his office. He always kept his door open. Even when he was going through his own stuff, he made it a point to check in one me. It was never a situation where he looked at us as numbers on the field, he always looked out for us. He taught us that if you put discipline and a strong work ethic on top of talent, there is no telling how good you can be.”

JEREMIAH TROTTER

Where it went wrong: “I would say for Andy it was Jim Johnson passing and the great players that were there that got older. They can’t get those years back, you just have to try and build around them. They moved on from me, Hugh, Dawkins, Troy Vincent, Bobby Taylor. And you start losing assistants that came up under you. That’s how the NFL works: they want people from a winning program and you lose them.”

Personal moment: “When Andy released me for the second time after the 2006 season, we both sat in the office and cried. You’re talking about two grown men, just crying. Andy did something he didn’t want to do, but he did what he felt was best for the team. The only other time I felt that kind of moment with Andy is when I went to his son’s funeral. That’s the thing I remember most about Big Red.”

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  • barry_nic

    Sad to say they’re right. Childress, Johnson, and harbaugh, three of the best coordinators in the best run in Eagles history. It’s a shame Andy and the front office couldn’t replace the men that made this team great on and off the field. That was his biggest flaw, his success. He didn’t have all of the power when he started, but gradually got it all and the cracks began to show. No coach should be team president as well, he wasn’t equipped to handle both jobs at the same time. He was famous for drafting and acquiring character over talent and that worked for him. When they strayed from that formula along with the freedom to pursue free agents the lack of his front office abilities showed. So long Andy, I’ll remember you fondly, but I won’t miss you.

    • Essell

      Why is it Bill Bellichick can lose players and coaches( Romeo Crennel, Charlie Weis, Eric Mangini) and haven’t missed a beat?

      • jerry

        You make a valid point but Belichick hasnt won a superbowl since Crennel and Weis were on his staff.

      • Fly Society

        You have to keep in mind Bellicheck did it with one of the greatest QBs of all time some the Eagles never possessed with Reid. Albeit Donovan was no slouch hes not one of the greatest either

  • djack10

    Signing Michael Vick seemed to be the turning point. Vick became the starter after Kolb’s injury. Reid just spent two years getting his top pick ready for the NFL and then abandons that plan in favor of Vick. It’s true…Michael Vick is a coach killer.

    • http://twitter.com/Lez215 Dutch

      The turning point was the veterans leaving and how the front office treated aging rock solid team leaders when their contracts came due.

    • germs

      yeah and with kolb looking like a lock for hof it hurts doubly…

  • http://www.facebook.com/anthony.lieu.56 Anthony Lieu

    Surprised at how gracious FredEx sounded in his comment there since they seemed to part on not so good terms. But good for him.

  • morgan c

    To the point about signing Vick being the turning point – that may be true, but only in terms of timing, not dynamic. That is, I think Reid just kind of got lucky with McNabb, and once he was done, there was no adequate plan B. Kolb or Vick just weren’t and aren’t in the same class, hate 5 or not. Inability to replace JJ as well, sure, but really, the offensive coach couldn’t find a dependable top quality qb to replace the franchise guy.

  • 85

    That Buck story is hilarious.

  • Johngiam

    Andy has been fired. We all got what we wanted, now let’s give a man who worked tirelessly for us for 14years, being a rock of this franchise regardless what happened. SHw the man some love….I had a crazy Love/hate relationship. He drove me crazy but a LNG time ago he became one of us…Thanks for pouring your soul in this. We act like crazy fans, it none of us have invested an iota of what this man has invested in our team. We all got what we wanted…now show your the man some Love! this man took 14 years of our abuse, and loved every second of it..never threw us fans under the bus…no matter how tough it got, and how much he was coveted, he always bled Eagles green! Lesser men, with options would have left us a while ago. Much love Big Red, thanks for the memories, and being a stand Up. Man…I have to admit, it’s sad that I won’t ET see Reid hoist the Lombardi trophy in Philly…he deserved that moment!

  • Kimbafuzz

    I don’t think signing Vick was the turning point. I think Jim Johnson’s death/Brian Dawkins’ release was the turning point. Think back to that season (or watch Silver Linings Playbook) before JJ died…. The team was struggling. McNabb didn’t know there could be ties. Reid came to the podium and basically did a Mike Shanahan and thought the season was over. Then the team came together behind an amazing second half defensive resurgence. Got them to that NFC Championship Game against Arizona, where they faltered…

    JJ died, Brian Dawkins was released, and the defense that had carried this team for a decade was never the same. For years, the Eagles defense had compensated for Reid’s offensive peculiarities (throw first, run occasionally) and time management issues. Once he lost that safety net, he was lost.

    Vick came along in 2009 and barely played, but this team was already sinking then. Remember the regular season debacle against Dallas where the Eagles didn’t even show up? Then the playoff game in Dallas the next week where McNabb was bizarrely screaming at fans in the tunnel on the way to the field?

    Eagles were already in disarray. It has nothing to do with signing Vick and more to do with what Westbrook and Buckhalter alluded to. There was no locker room leadership. There was nobody who’d been there through thick and thin and BLED Eagles green. It was a bunch of youngsters and paycheck mercenaries who bought into their own hype. There wasn’t a Dawkins or Runyan or Trotter or Westbrook to bring them back to earth.

    All that said, reading these personal thoughts makes me very melancholy.

  • Peter

    Great piece, Tim. Thanks!

  • Joe D

    From the Tra comments:

    He presented the game plan the same way and for some reason the guys just didn’t take to it and couldn’t get it to function.

    And there is half of the problem right there. He presented the game plan the same way. The man was impervious to change, changes in the league, changes in his personnel. The king of the square peg in a round hole.

  • http://twitter.com/corry_k Corry Henry

    Having his coaching staff stripped is probably the biggest reason why this team started to fall apart. Think about his original coaching staff and how many of those coaches are or were head coaches. Forget how they did as head coaches, just the fact that so many of them got opportunities says a lot about them.

    Andy Reid wore out his welcome here in the past two years, but I’m thankful for most of the other years. The team went from the bottom to the top in his best years. It’s a shame we never got the satisfaction of a Super Bowl. I think years from now, we’ll remember him as one of the best. Hopefully we can get the right coach in the coming months and get back to being competitive.

  • Jezzuro

    Great article, I see McCoy seems to be taking it hard too (twitter).

    Reid a great coach I think he needs a rest and a change of scene. Nothing’s forever and it ran its course.

    Same with us, a breath of fresh air is needed…. But we are back to the great unknown.

  • hillbillybirdsfan

    Not having the players that came up in the system definitely became a huge problem. The reason for this is the spotty drafting. When you see McCoy busting his butt as most of the team played dead yesterday you can see that a player with talent brought up through the system could still produce quality results. They drafted the wrong guys for too many years. The same is true of the coaches. They replaced those who got experience in the system and got guys with their own agenda.

  • Cashdoller

    Wow this is great thanks for putting this article out. You don’t get the real Andy Reid at the press conferences or in public, but he truly was a players coach and I never took him as that. The respect for him from Lurie down to the draft pick busts years later says volumes.

  • camp

    lol Fredex

  • gmot44

    Big red gave his heart and soul to Philadelphia Eagles. If you think buying in Eagle shirt what painting your face green and silver is heart and soul you’re a joke. You need to get rhe biggest cancer is the Desawn Jackson. I personally got high with him the night before he was suspended and soul control sneaker place his words was f*** the Eagles

  • Mr. Magee

    Gmot, that’s one interesting comment… DJ had “f the eagles” written on his sneakers?

    The corollary to Andy’s relationship with the players was his relationship with the media and fans… All the love he showed them was mirrored by all the non-answers and (in some cases) outright lies he told all of us – it was downright insulting at times, but in the end the only thing that matters is how the team did on the field. That will (hopefully) continue to be the case in the future.

    • Dawkins20Fan

      I actually thought Reid usually repped the fans pretty well and considered him one of us while the media (many of whom are closet fans for other teams) were often the cancers.