Reid's rapid return has deep impact on Eagles
BETHLEHEM, Pa. -- Brandon Graham wasn't surprised to see head coach Andy Reid back on the practice field Wednesday morning.
"No, because I know how strong coach Reid is, just from dealing with him already for these three years I've been here," Graham said. "He's a pretty strong guy. That right there showed me a whole lot."
Reid returned to the team three days after the death of his son Garrett and less than a day after the funeral. For Reid, the timing just felt right (see story)
"I just know that coming back and coaching is the right thing to do," Reid said.
“You feel the strength of the team. I felt it with my family the past couple of days, and I feel it with the team."
Which is his extended family. With Reid back to help them prepare for Thursday's preseason opener against Pittsburgh, the players felt stronger too.
"It fired us up a little bit more because it's like, man, you just dealt with all this, and now you're back out there? Shoot, I'm ready to go," Graham said. "That's what Garrett would want man, because Garrett was cool. I try to think about it in a positive way. It's tough to lose someone, and you just can't dwell on it. You've got to keep moving and think about how they would feel in that moment."
DeSean Jackson said he was surprised to see Reid return so soon, but when he did, he, like Graham, realized just how much this team meant to its head coach.
"It's actually an honor to have him back," Jackson said. "The circumstances and the funeral yesterday -- no quicker than 24 hours he's right back on the field with us. It shows us how important he is and how much he cares about this football team.
"We just want to uplift his spirits and make him feel in a comfort zone so he doesn't have really worry about too many things. 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."
Last week, Reid was there for his first-round pick, defensive tackle Fletcher Cox. Cox has now twice left the team because of deaths in the family, both close cousins. He missed some of minicamp in June and on Saturday attended another funeral. Two days earlier, he and Reid had talked after practice.
"Then a few days later, he's going to his son's funeral," Cox said. "We talked about that this morning -- that was kind of a real conversation. I really didn't know what to say to him. He came up to me. He was like, that was a real conversation that we had Thursday evening after practice.
"I know how he's feeling right now. Having two deaths back to back like that, it's kind of hard. I just have to deal with it and overcome everything that's come with it."
Cox has yet to play a game for the Eagles, but he's already experienced both sides of Andy Reid.
"There are always two sides to a person," Cox said. "He has his coaching personality and he's got his emotional side. You're kind of seeing the emotional side of him now. The only thing you can do is pray for him and just try to talk to him and bring him up."E-mail Andy Schwartz at email@example.com