Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Respect Reigns for Eagles' Reid

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Respect Reigns for Eagles' Reid

Article excerpt

PHILADELPHIA -- His sons nearby, his team captain at his right hand, Andy Reid stood at midfield as the assemblage honored the memory of his firstborn.

The crowd at Lincoln Financial Field stood and applauded Reid, who had buried Garrett, 29, just two days earlier. Even Mama Reid was there. Tammy Reid looked as strong as an oak, in her personalized Eagles jersey.

Waves of love and respect swept through the Linc, love and respect intended for the gruff, aloof, often embattled coach. "We feel the love," Andy Reid said afterward.

But within 30 minutes, it was the same old thing. Or was it? Reid burned a timeout with an odd challenge the Steelers' opening possession. Failed challenges and wasted timeouts have become the hallmark of Reid's shortcomings in his 13 seasons.

But this time, Reid didn't get booed.

After the called timeout, a message flashed on the stadium's video board with a family portrait. The message expressed the Reids' gratitude at the outpouring of sympathy after Garrett's death a week ago at training camp. Then the screens filled with Reid's profile, live from the field. The crowd erupted.

Yes, it wasn't the same old thing.

"I'd like to thank the fans on behalf of my family," Reid said. "Really, above and beyond."

It might last all season. It might last the rest of Reid's career. Or, it might last until Reid wastes that first timeout for real.

Reid's players, wearing Garrett's initials on their helmets, played like the distracted mess they were at practice early last week. The defense was pliant. The offense lacked rhythm. But Thursday night, execution didn't matter. Compassion ruled.

Reid was intent on making as little a spectacle of himself as possible. He snuck onto the field, sons Britt and Spencer in tow. Having made it to the bench area largely undetected, Reid accepted his communications belt and headset, stuffed that betraying red challenge flag in his hip pocket and began his pregame routine. …

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