The first week of August should be a time of optimism and hope for the Philadelphia Eagles. It marks the second week of training camp and the first preseason game. It’s when all the off-season workouts, planning and preparation can finally be put to work on the field, even if the score of the game itself doesn’t matter.
But after this weekend, things are different. The sudden passing of head coach Andy Reid’s son Garrett, 29, casts a cloud over the entire Eagles’ organization, its family and its fans. It brings into focus just what is important in life.
It’s a tragic end to what was turning into a heart-warming story. Garrett, Andy his wife Tammy’s oldest son, had a well-publicized troubled past. He fought drug addiction and spent time in jail.
But after seeking treatment at various rehabilitation centers, Garrett had turned a corner. Since being released from prison in 2009, he had been working with the Eagles as a strength and conditioning coach.
Then, suddenly, he was found unresponsive in his dorm room at Lehigh University, the site of Eagles training camp, on Sunday morning. The university’s chief of police said that there was no indication of suicide or foul play, and an autopsy is expected to be completed in the next day or so.
Andy Reid will leave the team for a few days to tend to family issues, but he says he is going to be present on the sidelines for the team’s first preseason game this Thursday against the Pittsburgh Steelers. It’s a similar path that former Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy took in 2005 when his son, James, took his own life. Football will serve as Andy’s outlet during what are and will be difficult times.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the entire Reid family.
Much like the Eagles, the majority of talk this past weekend surrounding the Philadelphia Phillies had to do with off-field actions and not the play between the foul lines. Friday was an action-packed day for the Phillies, who first waived then traded pitcher Joe Blanton to the Los Angeles Dodgers and then waived and pulled back pitcher Cliff Lee – after he, too, was claimed by the Dodgers.
High-priced players get passed through waivers all the time during August. It’s an annual event that usually garners little, if any, attention. But since Lee’s name swirled around the rumor mill before the non-waiver trade deadline of July 31, the Dodgers’ claim on him garnered headlines around the league.
If they had wanted to, the Phillies could have worked out a trade with the Dodgers – and only the Dodgers – for Lee, or they could have simply wiped their hands of Lee and his contract entirely and let him go to the Dodgers. GM Ruben Amaro Jr. did neither of those things, though, pulling Lee off waivers and keeping him in Philadelphia.
While I’m not necessarily advocating against the Phillies keeping Lee, it’s an odd move for Amaro to waive Lee, then not trade or let him go once he was claimed. Why waive him in the first place if you didn’t intend to let him go?
In all likelihood, the Dodgers weren’t offering a package of players and prospects that was attractive enough to the Phillies. So instead of settling for what was available, Amaro probably decided to wait until the off-season – when the trade market for Lee will open up to all teams and not just the Dodgers – to see what he can get.
On the field, the Phillies are playing better ball recently. It’s just too bad that it’s too little too late. They took two of three from the Arizona Diamondbacks over the weekend and have climbed out of last place in the NL East division. Still, they sit 10 games under .500, 16 games back of the division-leading Washington Nationals and 12.5 games out of a Wild Card spot. The playoffs are not within reach.
The Phillies host the Atlanta Braves for three games starting tonight, followed by three games at home against the St. Louis Cardinals starting Friday night. The projected pitching matchups for the Braves series are Vance Worley vs. Ben Sheets tonight, Cole Hamels vs. Mike Minor tomorrow, and Kyle Kendrick vs. Tim Hudson on Wednesday.