As the Eagles and the rest of the sports world -- and beyond -- expressed their sympathies to Andy Reid and his family for the loss of son, Garrett, the football team did what it was required to do later that day: Play football.
Chairman/CEO Jeffrey Lurie addressed the team, gathered on one knee in a semi-circle around Lurie, prior to the team's work that day. Lurie spoke for about 60 seconds and then offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg stepped in and told the players that it was time to get down to business, to play football and to focus.
The team, thus, is doing what it has done for these last 13 seasons: Follow the directions of its leader, head coach Reid. He is the boss, who is forever a grieving father after Garrett was pronounced dead on Sunday morning. It is, as Lurie told the media, a "tragedy" for a "rock-solid man."
"Today is one of life's tough days ... It is unimaginable the pain. Most of us have suffered tragedy in our lives. Losing a son is unimaginable. Losing a child is unimaginable. The pain," said Lurie. "He cares so much about his family."
Reid's extended family, his football team, went about the business on Sunday afternoon of moving on. Please understand that this loss to the Eagles will last forever, and it has a profoundly deep impact for everyone right now and will for a long, long time, but the business of the business continues, and on Sunday the players and the coaches and the organization and the fans nudged forward.
The afternoon crowded was excited to be at Eagles practice, of course. But there was a noticeable drop in the intensity in the stands and in the reaction to the action on the field. Maybe parents were too busy hugging their kids to care all that much about a great catch or a big play or something that they would normally spill into the aisles over. Let's hope so. Let's hope that every parent said an extra "I love you" to his/her child and makes sure to do that every day for the rest of time.
It was an afternoon tinged with sadness. At the same time, though, the players and coaches were really trying to focus. They played fast football. They whooped it up at the appropriate time. Wide receivers coach David Culley added his usual spice to the receivers vs. defensive backs one-on-one drills and the players responded with a spirited performance. At one point
"I hope your quarterback has enough time for that to happen in a game," grumbled Asomugha as Culley talked trash following the play.
Lurie indicated in his statement to the media that Reid is expected to coach against Pittsburgh on Thursday. We'll see. Who knows how Reid will react once this all settles in and he is with his immediate family and the pain deepens? Reid is on no curfew here. I'm sure everyone feels he can stay away as long as he feels proper.
There were a lot of hugs and knowing glances and grim faces throughout the organization on Sunday, and there will be for days to come. We all knew and liked Garrett and we all feel for the Reid family and the suffering they feel. A hug here and an "I love you" there among the staffers, the men and women who have worked side by side for so many years helped ease the sadness just a touch, in that we know we are here as a team, a family, a collection of devoted souls who give our work lives with passion and dedication.
The passing of Garrett Reid is another tragedy to hit the Eagles' family. There have been several in the past. Jerome Brown's death in June, 1992 jarred everyone. Former quarterbacks coach Doug Scovil passed away from a heart attack in December of 1989. Jim Johnson's death, of course, impacted everyone. Former coach and great player Ken Iman died in 2010 and we all mourned for his family, including wife Joyce, who to this day works for the organization.
Garrett Reid's death is another blow, bringing with it great pain and mourning. As Andy Reid takes his time and cries with his immediate family, his extended family -- the Eagles organization and the many fans and friends who expressed their condolences on Sunday -- take the necessary steps, however slowly they come, to recover from the loss.