NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, Browns President Mike Holmgren and Patriots coach Bill Belichick were among more than 900 people who packed a Mormon church for the funeral service of Garrett Reid, son of Eagles coach Andy Reid.
Garrett Reid was found dead in his dorm room Sunday morning at Lehigh University, where he was assisting the Eagles strength and conditioning coach during training camp. The 29-year-old recovering drug addict had seemingly turned his life around.
Many current and former players, coaches and other league officials traveled from all across the country to pay their respects Tuesday morning at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The list included Ravens coach John Harbaugh, Saints interim coach Joe Vitt and defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, Colts general manager Ryan Grigson and Browns general manager Tom Heckert.
”Andy prides himself on being a rock. All of us in this business have to be like that a little bit,” Holmgren said. ”But when it comes to something as personal as this, his humanness and who he is comes out, and that’s OK. He reacted like every other father would react.”
Holmgren called Reid, the first coach he hired in Green Bay, the ”son I never had.” One of Holmgren’s four daughters used to babysit Reid’s children. He said young Garrett was a ”rambunctious guy” with a ”great personality.”
The receiving line was so long that it wrapped around the church and delayed the start of the service for more than an hour. Andy Reid was at the front of the line with his wife Tammy, sons Britt and Spencer and daughters Crosby and Drew Ann.
”He was comforting us,” said Harbaugh, a former assistant under Reid. ”He wrapped me up in a big bear hug, and he told me everything was going to be alright. That’s the Andy I know.”
Buses brought Eagles players and team employees from camp at Lehigh and the NovaCare practice complex in Philadelphia. Donovan McNabb, Brian Westbrook and Jeremiah Trotter were among Reid’s former players in attendance.
Some residents in the quaint neighborhood stood outside their homes along the street across from the church with signs offering condolences and security personnel on the grounds wore Eagles caps.
Garrett’s uncle Bart Winters, husband of Tammy Reid’s sister, Cindy Winters, delivered the eulogy. Crosby Reid sang Garrett’s favorite hymn: ”My Heavenly Father Loves Me.”
”The one thing I took from the service more than anything was that Garrett was a friend of everybody,” Harbaugh said. ”The kids at school that were kind of struggling a little bit, he was their friend. The guys that were picked last for the basketball team, he was their friend. He would take everybody under his wing. That’s a trait I think he gets from Andy.”
Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie choked up talking to reporters afterward.
”The team loves this man, Andy,” Lurie said. ”It’s hard to explain. As a coach and a human, he is fully involved. He is one of these people that shares his life and his love and his passion for the football team and the extended family, and it is so appreciated by everybody that works for him. It’s not something you can see in press conferences, it’s not something you can see after a loss or a win, it’s just how he is as a person. He is just incredibly respected.”
Reid missed two days of practice, but plans to coach Thursday night’s preseason opener against Pittsburgh.
”He wants to get right back in there,” Lurie said.