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Jack McCaffery is the lead sports columnist for the Daily Times and He has spent several decades covering everything from the Phillies, Eagles, Flyers and Sixers, to college hoops, to high school sports in Delco.

Sunday, August 5, 2012




BETHLEHEM --- As Andy Reid had told the Eagles he'd preferred Sunday, his football team practiced in a hot sun, even if in a heartbroken disposition.

Hours after learning that Reid's son, Garrett Reid, 29, had died in a Lehigh University dorm room, the Birds practiced under the guidance of offensive coordinator and assistant head coach Marty Mornhinweg, with the aid of defensive coordinator Juan Castillo.

According to general manager Howie Roseman, who had announced the death of Garrett Reid, Andy Reid had wanted the football operation to continue without interruption.

The plays, Mornhinweg and the Birds could control.

The emotions were more troublesome.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Andy, (his wife) Tammy and the Reid family,” Mornhinweg said after practice. “It has certainly been a tough day. I can only imagine how tough it has been on that family.

“As you know, Andy is a rock. And he has given all of us on this football team --- all the coaches and administration --- great support for many, many years. And we are here to support him now.”

As expected, the Eagles had their entire first-team offensive unit assembled Sunday. But the morning practice was limited to a special-teams walk-through, and the players did not wear pads in the afternoon workouts.

The Eagles made only Michael Vick, Jason Avant and Nnamdi Asomugha available to the press. None answered questions.

“Our thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to Coach Reid, Tammy and the entire family,” Vick said. “Coach has always been a great supporter of us. As a team and for the organization, he has been a rock for us. We will lean on him and we will be there for him and stay strong for him until he can come back and lead us on.”

The Eagles did not specify when Reid would return to coaching, though owner Jeffrey Lurie expects it to be soon --- that, for therapeutic as much as for professional reasons. The Eagles do not expect Reid to work Monday, but he could be back as soon as Tuesday. The Birds will host the Pittsburgh Steelers in a preseason game Thursday at the Linc.

“I expect Andy to be coaching this week and back,” Lurie said. “He feels that way and he is very, very focused on both his family and his profession. I can't think of anything else to say except when you're dealing with a family in pain, be gentle. And at the same time understand at times they are going to exhibit strength because that's what they need to do. I think that's what we all need to do.”

On the field Sunday, the Eagles were strong. Off it, they were compassionate.

“Obviously, it is a difficult time for us,” Asomugha said. “We still managed to come out here and practice, but it has been a tough day. Garrett was --- is --- a part of our football family, our extended family, our immediate family. So it is a very tough time for us.”

The Eagles have a light workout scheduled for Monday morning and a full-service practice on their afternoon agenda.

“We are working as hard as we can for him,” Avant said of Andy Reid, “just to let him know that this team really, really, really, really, really loves him. When this thing happened, we were hurting with him. He was with me personally when my dad passed last year. He was the first one to call me.

“I want him to know that I love him and his team loves him.”


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