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:
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.”
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.”
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.”
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.”
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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