Andy Reid's son Garrett found dead at Lehigh

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Ike Turner

Jul 17, 2011
South San Jose
BETHLEHEM, Pa. -- Garrett Reid, the oldest of Eagles head coach Andy Reid’s three sons, was found dead in his dorm room at the team’s training camp headquarters at Lehigh University Sunday morning, general manager Howie Roseman told reporters after the team’s walk-through.

Roseman broke down in tears after announcing at a hastily arranged press briefing that the 29-year-old Reid was found dead in his room at the Sayre Park dorm complex, which houses the players and coaches during training camp.

Lehigh chief of police Ed Shupp said officers received a 911 call at about 7:20 a.m. He said Garrett Reid was unresponsive when officers arrived.

He said there was no sign of suspicious activity in the circumstances of Reid’s death.

“Attempts were made to revive the individual,” Shupp said. “They were unsuccessful. The individual, Garrett Reid, was deceased upon the officers’ arrival.”

Northampton County coroner Zachary Lysek appeared at the morning press briefing and said he pronounced Garrett Reid deceased at the scene. He said there will be an ongoing investigation.

Roseman said upon Reid’s wishes, training camp practices will continue as scheduled. The Eagles were back on the practice field at 2:35 p.m. Sunday afternoon, and they are scheduled to practice again on Monday with a morning walk-through and afternoon practice.

Eagles owner Jeff Lurie said Reid told him he plans to coach Thursday night, when the Eagles open the preseason at the Linc against the Steelers.

Lurie said Reid likely will not rejoin the team on Monday. The Eagles do not practice Tuesday, and they have a brief walk-through scheduled Wednesday.

"He treasures these practices, and he feels bad he’s not going to be at practice today and probably tomorrow," Lurie said. "He just thinks they’re incredibly important."

Garrett Reid is the oldest of five children of Andy and Tammy Reid, who met while both were students at BYU in the late 1970s.

Garrett and younger brother Britt Reid were in the news in 2007 after their arrest and prison stay on drug charges. Garrett had two stints in prison and spent time in court-ordered rehab, but both Garrett and Britt had by all accounts turned their lives around.

Garrett was often seen on the sidelines at Lehigh and helped out strength and conditioning coach Barry Rubin. He also had helped out recently with the Temple football team, joining younger brothers Britt, a graduate assistant coach, and Spencer, a redshirt freshman running back.

"My deepest sympathy for one of the greatest men on earth," Eagles head athletic trainer Rick Burkholder tweeted. "My heart bleeds for you, Andy Reid."

Early Sunday afternoon, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell released this statement via Twitter:

"We are deeply saddened by the news about Garrett Reid. Our thoughts and prayers are with Andy, Tammy and their family. We will support them and the Eagles in any way we can through this difficult time."

Reid's good friend, former Ravens coach Brian Billick, tweeted this out: "My deepest condolences go out to coach Reid as he grieves the tragic loss of his son. Our thoughts are with you during this difficult time."

The first sign that something was wrong Sunday morning came soon after 8 a.m., when Reid did not take the field for the team's usual morning walk-through.

Just before that practice began, the entire team was taken to a side field and held a group prayer.

At about 9:45 a.m., Roseman addressed the media in a tent near the practice fields. He spoke for about three minutes but did not take any questions.

“It’s a tough morning for all of us in the Eagles’ family,” Roseman said. “Garrett grew up with this team, and this makes this news even harder for us to process. Our hearts go out to Andy, Tammy, [brothers] Britt, Spencer, [sisters] Crosby and Drew Ann.

“Coach has spent the morning informing his family. We ask sincerely that you respect the family’s privacy during this time. The team has been informed of this news, as has [owner] Jeffrey and Christina [Lurie]. ...

“I’ve been with Andy a long time. He’s always been strong for us. We’re going to be strong for him right now. As a father and a friend, we’re all hurting.”

Moments later, Roseman broke down sobbing and was comforted by Burkholder as he left the media tent. Roseman and Burkholder have both been with Reid since 1999.

In a statement, the Eagles announced that offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg and defensive coordinator Juan Castillo will run the team in Reid’s absence.

The last time Reid missed practice was in November of 2007 to attend one of Garrett’s court appearances.

Lurie gathered the team in a circle before Sunday's afternoon practice and spoke to them for seven minutes.

"I’ve watched Andy try so hard with his family over the years," Lurie said moments later, pausing to hold back tears. "He cares so much about his family. ... You see a man that really cares, and sometimes ... life throws you curve balls.

"The thing to do, and I’ve always felt this and I think Andy feels the same way, is you gain from loss. You gain from tragedy. I always think that there’s no way today I would own an NFL team if I hadn’t lost my dad when I was 9, and it was shocking. It made me stronger.

"There’s choices to be made when tragedy happens. You can become stronger and even more focused and learn from it and treat life as a challenge, or you can bow down. And Andy ... said to me, ‘I’m going to hit that curve ball and hit it out of the park.'"

Joe Banner, still officially the Eagles' strategic adviser and the team's long-time president and soon-to-be Cleveland Browns front office exec, released this statement:

"Words cannot express my sadness upon hearing the tragic news this morning. I've known Garrett since he was a teenager and saw him grow up amongst the Eagles family. It's hard to comprehend how heartbreaking it must feel to lose a child. My deepest condolences go out to Andy, Tammy and their entire family."

The Eagles players were instructed not to speak with reporters after the morning practice, but several of them tweeted about Reid’s death.

"My condolences go out to Coach Reid and his family," Michael Vick tweeted. "Stay strong and we LOVE you coach."

DeSean Jackson: "My blessings go out to the Reid Family. We lost a close 1 this morning."

Brandon Graham: “R.I.P. Garrett Reid. Man this is so messed up.”

Kurt Coleman: “Prayers and condolences go out. May God protect us and serve us in this time of need.”

And Brian Rolle: “I can’t even believe it man. How precious life is.” (see more reactions).

Kevin Kolb, who spent 2007 through 2010 with the Eagles, released a statement through the Cards' public relations department: "Anyone that's been around Andy for any amount of time knows how important family is and how much his kids mean to him. This is devastating news. My heart goes out to Andy and Tammy. My thoughts and prayers are with all of them right now."

Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who is the second-longest tenured NFL head coach, behind only Reid, mentioned Reid in his regularly scheduled daily press briefing

"Very sad," he said. "Andy is a good friend of mine. My heart goes out to him and his family."

Reid, 54, has been the Eagles’ head coach since 1999. He’s one of only eight coaches in NFL history to spend at least 14 years with the first team he coached.