BETHLEHEM, Pa. — Garrett Reid was a “happy-go-lucky” guy who conquered drug addiction, loved being in the weight room and enjoyed making players laugh.
That’s how many of the Philadelphia Eagles closest to Reid remembered their coach’s oldest son, who was found dead Sunday morning in a dorm room at the club’s Lehigh University training camp. Police said the 29-year-old’s death was not suspicious, and the cause was under investigation.
“I spent plenty of time with him,” guard Evan Mathis said Monday. “He was always in the weight room with us and was always on the field with us. He was a happy-go-lucky guy and always a joy to be around, always telling jokes and having fun. Really just brightened your day when you were around him.”
Funeral services will be held on Tuesday. It’s a scheduled day off from camp, so the team is expected to attend.
“I spent a lot of the offseason hanging out with Garrett. We were pretty close,” center Jason Kelce said. “I want to be there to say ‘Goodbye’ to him.”
The Eagles on Monday held a regular morning walkthrough and a full afternoon practice without coach Andy Reid for the second straight day. Reid spoke to the team Sunday before he left camp and impressed upon them the importance of sticking to their daily schedules. The Eagles (No. 8 in the AP Pro32) open the preseason against the Steelers on Thursday at Lincoln Financial Field.
Owner Jeffrey Lurie already said he expects Reid, a father of five, to return this week.
“For us to not take any days off and be out here having Coach Reid and Garrett on our minds, it’s been tough,” running back LeSean McCoy said. “The biggest thing is that he wants all of us to stay together as a team. He said, ‘Guys, stick together. We’re all in this together.’
“We’re actually his extended family, and he said it’s tough right now, but we need to stay together as a team even in his absence. He wants us to be here, stay together, train hard and try and achieve our goal. Playing a game is something big, but playing for him and his family actually motivates us a little bit more.”
Garrett Reid had been staying at camp where he assisted strength and conditioning coach Barry Rubin in an unofficial capacity. Exercise and training had become a passion for Reid and he aspired to make it a career.
“He was putting a lot of work into it, doing a lot of research,” Kelce said. “That was his goal — to be a strength and conditioning coach as a head guy. He was good at it.”
Reid’s knowledge and affable personality was a big reason why quarterback Michael Vick spent so much time working out with him during the offseason.
“Just a great spirit, a lot of enthusiasm, fun to be around and always is going to make you smile when you are in a bad mood,” Vick said. “He can always get you to crack a smile and that’s what I’m going to miss about him. That’s what I enjoyed each and every day. In the offseason, he was one of the reasons that I came to work five days out of the week.”
Players who knew Reid five years ago saw his transformation. They knew he had come a long way. Garrett Reid was sentenced to nearly two years in prison for a 2007 high-speed car crash while he was high on heroin that injured another driver. Police found heroin and more than 200 pills in his car. When he surrendered to begin his sentence, prison guards found Reid had tried to smuggle prescription pills into jail.
His younger brother, Britt, also had problems with drug use and was arrested on the same day as Garrett in 2007 for a road-rage encounter. Police discovered weapons and drugs in Britt Reid’s vehicle.
But Reid’s two oldest boys appeared to be on the right track. Britt is a graduate assistant coach at Temple, where Spencer Reid is a redshirt freshman running back.
“I think it’s a remarkable turnaround to go from where he was to — you guys have seen him — he lost a lot of weight, health became a huge part of his life; he had everything going in the right direction,” right tackle Todd Herremans said.
Linebacker Casey Matthews worked out often with Garrett Reid as a rookie last year, and didn’t even realize he was the coach’s son for the first couple months.
“He was a good guy,” Matthews said. “When I got to know him in the weight room, I didn’t even know he was Coach Reid’s son.”
Matthews said Garrett Reid talked about his past at times, but players never brought up the topic. Like others who knew Garrett Reid, Matthews said he would be shocked if his death was drug-related.
“He was past all that,” Matthews said. “He was always happy, always upbeat, always had your back.” — (AP)
Jason Kelce needs season-ending knee surgery, forcing the Eagles to replace another key offensive lineman.
Kelce was placed on injured reserve Tuesday after he had surgery to repair a torn medial collateral ligament in his right knee. Once that heals in about a month, he will have surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament. That'll require six to 12 months recovery time.
"We never really compare these guys to any other player because they all play different positions, they have different body types, and they have different angles in their knees," Philadelphia head athletic trainer Rick Burkholder said. "They have different strengths and weaknesses. But, with everything we know about Kelce, we think that he is going to make a recovery. We think it's going to be an MCL repair, which takes six weeks to heal up, and then an ACL which takes nine months.
"We'll go from there."
The Eagles, off to a 2-0 start for the first time since 2004, were hoping Kelce wouldn't need the ACL operation. On Monday, Burkholder said there was a chance he might return within six weeks. But it was determined during Tuesday's procedure that Kelce will need complete knee reconstruction.
"I think he knew he had a knee injury that was pretty significant just from what he felt on the field and what he saw on tape," Burkholder said. "I think he was hoping for the best, but prepared himself for the worst."
Center Steve Vallos was signed to take Kelce's roster spot. Dallas Reynolds will be the starter. Reynolds filled in nicely after Kelce went down in Sunday's win over Baltimore. The 28-year-old Reynolds had spent three seasons on the practice squad before taking his first snap in the NFL.
Vallos spent training camp with Philadelphia before he was released as part of the team's final roster cut down. Vallos has started eight games in four seasons with Seattle and Cleveland.
A sixth-round pick last year, Kelce started every game his rookie season and played all but six snaps. He's the second starter to be lost for an extended period. All-Pro left tackle Jason Peters tore his right Achilles' tendon in the offseason and is on the non-football injury list. He's eligible to return to practice with the team between Weeks 6-9 of the regular season, though it's uncertain if he can. -- (AP)
PHILADELPHIA — The Eagles are finally getting their quarterback back.
Perhaps too little, too late.
Michael Vick, the NFC's starting Pro Bowl quarterback a year ago, returned to practice Monday after missing three games with two broken ribs, and will play this weekend as last-place Philadelphia (4-8) meets the Miami Dolphins (4-8).
"I'll definitely be out there," Vick said. "I feel like I've got to be accountable for my team. I want to be there. You know, I just want to get back to doing what I love to do, and that's playing the game of football. There's nothing in this world like the game. I put my heart and soul into it, man, and I just wish I could have been out there the last three weeks, but it just hasn't panned out that way."
The Eagles were 1-2 without Vick, as former Titans Pro Bowl quarterback Vince Young tossed eight interceptions and just four touchdowns.
Vick suffered two broken ribs in the Eagles' 21-17 loss Nov. 13 to the Cardinals at home. The Eagles are 3-6 in Vick's nine starts this year, and he has 11 touchdown passes to go with 11 interceptions.
"He's back on top of things," center Jason Kelce said. "And mentally, he was all there today, which you would think with a guy missing a few weeks, that he would be kind of slow to come back, but he was on top of it.
"So, it was good to have him back."
The Eagles need to win their last four games to avoid their first losing season since 2005 and only their second in 13 years under coach Andy Reid.
"I just think we put ourselves in bad situations sometimes, including myself," Vick said. "I was a big part of it. ... Obviously, I wish I could have done more this year like I did last year, but that's just not the case."
The Eagles face the Dolphins on Sunday in Miami in a battle of teams with identical records, yet they're headed in opposite directions. The Eagles have lost four of their last five, and the Dolphins have won four of their last five.
Since Nov. 6, Miami has defeated Kansas City, Washington, Buffalo and Oakland, and lost to Dallas, 20-19, on a late field goal on Thanksgiving, after leading in the final minute.
The Eagles remain mathematically alive to reach the playoffs, although it is an extreme longshot.
"We've got to keep our heads up high, we've got to keep playing hard," Vick said, "keep trusting and believing in one another, keep believing in our coaches and the philosophies that are being taught here, and make the most out of this."
The Eagles are 3-3 on the road this season.
"We've still got an opportunity after everything that we've been through," Vick added. "We've still got a chance and we're going to play it out."
Vick, who didn't practice at all the past three weeks, said he worked out with no restrictions Monday and had no discomfort when he threw the football.
"I won't say (I'm) 100 percent, but we've still got a week to go," Vick said. "I get better each and every day. Still working hard in the treatment room to try to get better, but I went out and had a great practice and I feel good."
Vick has lost eight of his last 11 starts since winning eight of his first 10 after replacing Kevin Kolb as Philadelphia's starting quarterback early last year.
But he's still the Eagles' best chance to salvage something out of what looks like a lost season.
"It means a whole bunch to us," receiver Jason Avant said. "That's our starting quarterback and everyone knows it. We're definitely comfortable with the other guys in there. I think that it's going to be just exciting to play with him again and just having him back is going to be exciting for the guys.
"It's going to be a guy who knows the system in and out and we're excited about it." -- (AP)