The Philadelphia Eagle are moving on with practice with heavy hearts, as they deal with the weekend death of head coach Andy Reid’s son, Garrett.
The mood has been described as shock, sorrow and sadness at the team’s training camp at Lehigh University, where Garrett Reid, 29, was found dead Sunday.
Police said the death was not suspicious, and the cause was under investigation. The coach’s oldest son had a long history of drug problems, once admitting ”I liked being a drug dealer” and went to prison for a heroin-fueled car crash.
Reid’s death, of course, stunned the Eagles, who took the field only because their coach wanted them to continue with their scheduled practices.
Michael Vick, Nnamdi Asomugha and Jason Avant spoke briefly following the afternoon practice, each offering prayers and condolences to the Reid family. Owner Jeffrey Lurie fought back tears when talking to reporters and general manager Howie Roseman broke down after delivering the news in the morning.
Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday in Broomall, Pa. Tuesday is a scheduled day off from camp, so the team will be in attendance.
A few players went out to dinner later in the evening and took a solemn, solitary moment to toast Garrett Reid, calling him ”a part of the family.”
”This is a very difficult situation for us all to deal with,” Vick said. ”Coach has always been a great supporter of us, as a team, as an organization. He’s been a rock for us and a big teddy bear for us, so we’re going to lean on him and we’re going to be there for him and we’re going to stay strong for him until he comes back and can lead us on.”
Lurie met with the team on the field and told reporters afterward he expected Reid back this week, ending any speculation the coach may not return.
Reid, a father of five, took a leave of absence during the 2007 offseason to spend more time with his family after Garrett and his second-oldest son, Britt, were sentenced to prison on the same day for separate incidents.
The Eagles play host to Pittsburgh in the preseason opener on Thursday night.
”I’ve watched Andy try so hard with his family over the years,” Lurie said. ”You see a man that really cares. He loves his players, he loves his coaches. He feels so bad that he’s even interfering with their success today, tomorrow. He knows they’re in good hands with our coaches, but actually in this moment of terrible pain, he’s reaching out to all of us.”
The police chief at Lehigh, Edward Shupp, said a 911 call was made at 7:20 a.m. about Reid, and that he was dead when a policeman arrived at the campus dormitory. The police and the Northampton County coroner were investigating.
Shupp said ”there were no suspicious activities.” Reid had been staying at the camp where he assisted the Eagles’ strength coaches in an unofficial capacity, a not-uncommon sort of role for NFL coaches’ sons.