Akers missed two field goals against Green Bay, and the Eagles lost by five. Reid was asked about that, and he shocked a lot of people with the rare and brutal honesty of his answer. In retrospect, that was a bad idea.
"We can all count," Reid said. "Those points would have helped."
For once, Reid didn't hold back. But given what we now know, he would have been excused, just that once, if he had.
What the rest of us only recently learned is something Reid knew in advance of the Packers game: On the Friday before the Eagles faced Green Bay, doctors at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia told Akers that a malignant cyst in his 6-year-old daughter's left ovary needed to be removed. The news had to be a nightmare.
There is football and there is real life, and it isn't hard to figure out which matters more. As far as football is concerned, I've never quite understood Philadelphia's fanboy fascination with Akers. (I wrote a column about that shortly after the Packers game.) But what Akers and his child and their family are going through is independent of that and far more important. Your heart breaks for them. How could it not?
Which brings us back to the game and Reid's remarks and what has become a very messy situation. From a football perspective, Akers picked a terrible time to have a bad game. He wasn't the only one to perform poorly, but his mistakes were significant. To Akers' credit, he hasn't made any excuses.
"In this position, no matter what, you have to be able to put [your personal life] aside for those few hours and go do your job," Akers told Inquirer columnist Ashley Fox in the story that revealed everything that was happening with the kicker and his daughter. "There are so many people depending on you, other players who have put everything in, the coaches, the fans."
There isn't much more to say. He blew it. We knew that then, and we know that now. Even Akers knows it. Reid knew it, too, but it's surprising that he said so considering he was privy to the distressing news.
I've called for Reid to speak up for years. He rarely, if ever, says what's on his mind. But when he finally decided to stray from the usual grumble/cough/grumble pattern, he picked Akers to call out? On that day? It doesn't make any sense - not after Reid spent so many years protecting Donovan McNabb and a host of lesser players who made gaffes equal to, or bigger than, the ones Akers committed against the Packers.
You have to wonder: Why Akers and why then? At the least, the timing was bad. Reid didn't have to cover for Akers, but he didn't have to pile on, either. Quiet compassion would have been just fine.
In that specific instance, when pressed on Akers missing those kicks, it would have been perfectly understandable if Reid had given the old company line about how all of the Eagles shared in the loss and the entire team needed to do a better job. At the time, the media and the fans would have complained about that, per usual, but we would have eventually moved on. And once we learned about the situation with Akers' daughter, even dedicated Reid detractors - including me - would have given him a pass for refusing to talk about what went wrong with his Pro Bowl kicker that day.
I'm all for Reid shedding his shroud of secrecy in favor of a more transparent approach, but there would have been better times to do so and better players to single out. Akers was already feeling pretty low. Why add to the man's misery? If there was ever a time for Reid to protect a player, that was it.
There is football and there is real life, and it isn't hard to figure out which matters more. Reid should have known better. He goofed. He goofed big.
Read Ashley Fox's Sunday story on David Akers and his daughter's health issues at http://www.philly.com/akers.
Contact columnist John Gonzalez at 215-854-2813 or email@example.com.
Follow him on Twitter: www.twitter.com/gonzophilly