July 23, 2012; Bethlehem, PA. USA; Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid during a press conference prior to training camp at Lehigh University. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-US PRESSWIRE
Andy Reid knew he had to come back.
He knew he had to come back because, as he put it, he is "a football coach", and this is what he does. He knew he had to come back because his now deceased son, Garrett, would have wanted him to. He had to come back to see the part of his family on the football side.
But as Reid spoke with about as much strength and courage as humanly possible on Wednesday morning, one thing became clear.
We needed him back as well.
With the same calm and assurance he has displayed during his entire tenure in Philadelphia, Andy Reid took the podium at Lehigh University this morning and delivered a message to his football team, the organization, the fans, and the city of Philadelphia. It was a message that we needed to hear, and had been waiting to hear from a coach that, although some hate at times, has been in our lives for 13 years.
He has been knocked down, but he is going to be ok.
Fair or not, Reid knew that not only his team, but this city needed to hear that. They needed to see the familiar image of Reid at the podium, hat on and mustache flowing. In many ways, his real family needed it to.
Over the past few days, it is been a hot topic of debate- when is the right time for Reid to return? He did so earlier than even owner Jeffery Lurie thought. Almost 24 hours exactly from when his son's funeral began, Reid was back at work- and everything was back to normal. He rode up to the field in the same car he always does, walked out and started practice. It was that simple and reassuring.
Andy Reid has always been strong with the media, but he showed on Wednesday just how strong he really is. It's safe to say that when he is alone or with his wife, Reid is still recovering from this unbelievable tragedy. The hole that losing a son leaves is something none of us ever want to experience, and something that has to be close to impossible to get over.
It won't be easy, and in watching Reid speak, it was hard to not admire the man standing at the podium. Football aside, many of us can only hope to be as strong as Reid was for the roughly 15 minutes he addressed the media.
If the Philadelphia Eagles community is a family, than Andy Reid is the father. And he knows it. Just like any strong father would in this situation, he did what he knew he had to do- he had to starting getting things back to normal.
His press conference was calm. It was reassuring. It was needed.
And everyone- from his players to the fans- should be thankful for it.
Follow Eliot Shorr-Parks on Twitter at @EliotShorrParks