Eagles' Reid Taking Leave Of Absence
Tuesday, February 13th 2007, 7:16 am
News On 6
PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ Andy Reid is facing a crisis far tougher than a quarterback controversy or a disruptive player.
The Philadelphia Eagles coach will leave the team for a month to deal with developments that have rocked his family the past two weeks _ one son tested positive for heroin, another was arraigned on drug and weapons charges.
The team said the leave will last until mid-March.
``He's not going to come into the office. His priorities will be his family for that period of time, but he will be available to have a couple of calls with us and collaborate and if he needed to be here for a visit of a free agent,'' Eagles president Joe Banner said Monday. ``He will retain final say over whatever we do.''
Reid, who is also the team's head of football operations, will miss the NFL scouting combine and the start of free agency. Teams may begin voluntary offseason workouts March 19. Reid plans to attend the NFL owners' meetings in Arizona in late March, and will be back for the NFL draft April 28-29.
The Eagles have 11 unrestricted free agents, notably wide receiver Donte' Stallworth and backup quarterback Jeff Garcia.
``Before any of this had happened, we had finalized our own plans as to what we're going to do and not do with our own guys,'' Banner said. ``We'd also put together our preliminary plan for the non-Eagle players that we could be interested in.''
General manager Tom Heckert and the team's assistant coaches will handle the interviewing of players at the scouting combine in Indianapolis, though Reid might be able to meet with some players at another time.
Garrett Reid, 23, tested positive for heroin after he caused a traffic accident Jan. 30, police said. No charges have been filed, but prosecutors are looking at the case. Police have said he could be charged with driving under the influence of a controlled substance, a misdemeanor.
Britt Reid, 21, was arraigned on drug and weapons charges. He is accused of pointing a handgun at another driver following a dispute and faces a felony charge of carrying a firearm without a license as well as misdemeanor charges of lying to authorities, simple assault, making terroristic threats and possession of a controlled substance.
Asked if this leave could lead to a longer one, Banner said: ``No. I don't know if he's coming back on (March) 13th or the 17th or the 18th. That's why that's a little bit vague, but he will be returning in and around that time frame.''
Reid has led the Eagles to the playoffs six times, including four trips to the NFC championship game and one Super Bowl, in eight seasons as head coach. He's dealt with several challenges the past two seasons from the Terrell Owens' soap opera and a series of key injuries in 2005 to losing five-time Pro Bowl quarterback Donovan McNabb in Week 11 this past season.
Despite McNabb's injury, the Eagles won their final five games behind Garcia, finished 10-6 to capture their fifth NFC East title in six years and reached the second round of the playoffs. Many considered it Reid's best coaching job in Philadelphia. Players credited his steady approach for helping them overcome a difficult midseason stretch and the season-ending injuries to McNabb and star defensive end Jevon Kearse.
``People deal with circumstances in life of all different kinds, some more serious, some less serious, some more preoccupied and less so, and are still able to carry on with their careers and their professions,'' Banner said. ``I think that's the kind of guy that Andy is, that he'll both be able to have his priorities in the right place, do what he needs to do, do the right thing, and also be able to return as the head coach and do the same quality job he's always done.''