Eagles owner Jeff Lurie first addressed the team, then the media prior to today's afternoon practice at Lehigh. He shared his thoughts on the passing of Andy Reid's son Garrett.
After the jump, we have Lurie's full statement, but here are the quick takeaways.
Andy feels its important that the team continues practicing and he's still committed to and excited for them heading into this season. Lurie expects Reid to be coaching when the Eagles take the field for their preseason opener this Thursday against the Steelers.
"Today is one of life's tough days. I think I'll just tell you a little bit of my conversations with Andy and my conversations with the team. Andy is, he's a rock solid man. I think what makes him a great coach is his combination of compassion, feeling and strength. Today, he exhibited it all. It's unimaginable the pain. We've all suffered; most of us have suffered tragedy in our lives. Losing a son is unimaginable, losing a child is unimaginable, the pain. Yet, he is rock solid. All he wanted to talk to me about was a couple of things, which was how incredibly excited he is for this football team, that's been obvious I think from the beginning of training camp to all of us. But he wanted me to know that. Secondly, that he treasures these practices and he feels bad he's going to not be at practice today or probably tomorrow and he just think they're incredibly important. At the same time, this is a father grieving and fully grieving.
"I've watched Andy try so hard with his family over the years. He just, he cares so much about his family that it's a hard one. You see a man that really cares and sometimes what happens, happens in life. As he and I discussed, life throws you curveballs and 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 that 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 are choices to be made when tragedy happens, you can become stronger and even more focused and learn from it and treat live as a challenge, or you can bow down. Andy is somebody, he said to me, I'm going to hit that curveball and hit it out of the park, on the field and off the field. That's the message that he wanted me to have.
"I think it's what makes him so dedicated. He loves his players. He loves his coaches. He feels so bad that he's even interfering with their success today, tomorrow. He knows they are in good hands with our coaches, but actually in this moment of terrible pain he's actually reaching out to all of us. You know that rock-solid guy who takes the bullets after games and all of that, but as I said to the players, 'You have to accept the grief and the tears and at the same time gather the strength and the desire to be excellent. Not just in football, but in life.’
"You're dealing with a coach, we've been together longer than any owner and head coach tandem in the NFL and his family. I knew Garrett when he was 14, 15 years old, all of his kids. The thing with Andy is he's strong and rock solid, but deep down he's a teddy bear. And the players who know him know that really well. All of us that know him know that really, really well. It's why he's so effective. Is he perfect? No. No one is, but that combination again of strength and tenderness is very, very special.
"Today, my feeling is between myself, and all of us who are around him and the players, we've just got to be supportive. We're going to be fine, but I want him to be fine. My heart goes out to Tammy and his family and at the same time as the players have said to me; we are going to practice hard, focus. When he's not here, do what he wants. I expect Andy to be coaching this week and back. He feels that way and he is very, very focused on both his family and his profession. I can't think of anything else to say except when you're dealing with a family in pain; be gentle, and at the same time understand at times they are going to exhibit strength because that's what they need to do. I think that's what we all need to do.
"Thank you for taking the time and I do look forward to having a press conference with you guys over and above and separate before the regular season, but this is a tough day. Thank you very much."