Less than 24 hours after the funeral for Andy Reid's son, Garrett, the head coach took to the practice field at Lehigh University for a mock game to prepare for Thursday night's preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Some players were surprised that Reid returned to the team so soon, only three days since his son's tragic and sudden passing; others were not.
One thing was unanimous, however - they were happy to have him back.
"It's actually an honor to have him back," wide receiver DeSean Jackson said. "With the circumstances, the funeral yesterday, no quicker than 24 hours he's right back out on the field with us. It just shows us how important he is and how much he cares about this football team."
"It's good to have him back out," defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins said. "Hopefully it can help him through this process, just getting his mind off stuff."
"Every time you go through something like that obviously it's not going to take three days to get over," wide receiver Jeremy Maclin said. "That's a life-changing experience, but we're fortunate to have him back out here.
"He's the guy we look up to. He's the coach. He's the guy that's going to put everything together to get us where we need to be. We love Andy and we're just glad to have him back out there."
The players want to make things easier on Reid by focusing and trying as best they can on the football field and being there for him off the field.
"We just want to uplift him, uplift his spirits and everything like that and just make him feel in a comfort zone where he doesn't have to worry about too many things," Jackson said. "It's really an honor to have him as our head coach. He's really a great guy, so whatever it is we have to do to keep him up in spirits and keep him going, that's what we're here for."
Although Reid spoke to the media after practice about his son's passing, his message to the players Wednesday was football-focused.
"Coach wanted us to keep it football as usual," quarterback Michael Vick said. "He wanted that to be our focus. We made sure that that's what we did. Anything that he asks us to do, that's what we're going to do."
Defensive tackle Fletcher Cox shared a personal, tragically coincidental story between he and Reid.
On Thursday, while Cox was dealing with the sudden death of his first cousin, Reid told him that he only goes to a funeral for someone very close to him or someone in his immediate family.
"A few days later, he's going to his son's funeral," Cox said, "so we talked about that this morning. That was kind of a real conversation.
"I really didn't know what to say to him, but he came up to me."
Cox did not go into detail of what was said, but it was clear that Reid was there for him when he had a tragic death in his family. Now, he wants to be there for Reid as he deals with his own tragedy.
"There are always two sides to a person," Cox said. "Coach Reid's got his coaching personality and he's got his emotional side of him. We've kind of seen his emotional side of him now, but the only thing we can do is pray for him, and just try to talk to him and bring him up."
"We can't feel what Andy is feeling right now, obviously, but it sure is good to have him back out here," Maclin said.
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