Sunday's tragic and unexpected passing of head coach Andy Reid's oldest son sent shockwaves through the Eagles family. A day later, the team is coming to terms with what happened while still trying to prepare for Thursday's preseason opener.
Garrett Reid, 29, was working as an assistant to the strength and conditioning coaches during the offseason and Training Camp. As one of the team's familiar faces, he developed friendships with many of the players. Reid's cheerful and friendly demeanor is what players remember most.
"(He was) always going to make you laugh; always going to make you smile, even when you're in a bad mood," said quarterback Michael Vick. "He (could) get you to crack a smile. And that's what I'm going to miss about him."
"I spent plenty of time with him," guard Evan Mathis said. "He was always in the weight room with us; always on the field with us. He was a happy-go-lucky guy; always a joy to be around. Always telling jokes; having fun. Really just brightened your day when you're around him."
The players were informed of the news shortly before Sunday morning's walk thru. The afternoon practice was still held, but safety Kurt Coleman said it was difficult to even focus on that much.
"It's tough," Coleman said. "It was just a walk thru so it made it easier, but your mind is always in another spot, just trying to get past that. We got through it, but it wasn't easy. I'll say that. It was not easy. And the whole day yesterday, nothing felt right."
"It's tough to go out here and practice, but we know how much we love Coach Reid, Garrett, and that family," said running back LeSean McCoy. "In the back of our mind, we have a job to do, but we're thinking about Coach Reid."
A day later, the team is trying to return to a state of normalcy. How each player will define "normal" will vary, but Vick will press on for his coach.
"We just have to find some inner peace and find a way to stay focused," Vick said. "It's what he would want us to do, and we're just trying to keep everything alive.
"It's just like all of us lost someone from our family, and we have to pick each other up and carry each other along and keep going."
To a man, the Eagles players spoke in glowing terms about the love and support they have received over the years from their head coach. Now, they said, it's time to return that love.
"We're going to be the backbone to help him get through anything he has to get through, and we're always here to support him." Coleman said.
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