Andy Reid said son's death followed an eight-year 'battle'

Posted: August 07, 2012

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - On Monday, one day after Garrett Reid was found dead in a Lehigh University dormitory room, Eagles coach Andy Reid released a statement on behalf of the Reid family that said his son "lost the battle that has been ongoing for the last eight years."

Garrett Reid suffered from a drug addiction for much of the last decade. The official police investigation of Reid's death was not finalized by Monday afternoon, and the autopsy results had not been released.

In a joint statement by the Lehigh University chief of police, Northampton County district attorney, and Northampton County coroner, the officials said "there is no additional information regarding the death investigation of Garrett Reid."

In the family's statement, Andy Reid expressed appreciation for the support and prayers since Sunday morning. He called Garrett Reid "a wonderful son and brother," a memory they do not want to be overshadowed by Garrett Reid's public struggles with drugs.

"Garrett's road through life was not always an easy one," Andy Reid said in the statement. "He faced tremendous personal challenges with bravery and spirit. As a family, we stood by him and were inspired as he worked to overcome those challenges. Even though he lost the battle that has been ongoing for the last eight years, we will always remember him as a fighter who had a huge, loving heart."

Andy Reid left Eagles training camp Sunday afternoon to be with his family in their Philadelphia-area home. Family and friends will remember Garrett Reid at his funeral Tuesday in Broomall. Buses will take Eagles players and personnel to the service from both Lehigh's campus and the NoveCare Complex in South Philadelphia. Former players and other coaches from around the NFL also are expected to attend.

"I would be surprised if anybody didn't show up," Eagles center Jason Kelce said.

On Monday, the Eagles adhered to their training-camp schedule with a morning walk-through, afternoon practice, and meetings throughout the day. But even the routine of practice could not halt the mourning.

"Walking off that field, that's when it hits you," Eagles quarterback Michael Vick said. "There's no escape from it."

That's especially true for players who saw Garrett Reid as recently as Saturday and then on Sunday morning witnessed ambulances and medical personnel outside Building C of the Sayre Park Village, where the Eagles coaches reside during training camp.

By Sunday's breakfast, whispers started circulating that someone had been found to be unresponsive. By the time the players arrived at the locker room to change for the 8:15 a.m. walk-through, the whispers included Garrett Reid's name. Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg informed the players of Reid's death on the field. Before the walk-through commenced, wide receiver Jason Avant led the team in prayer.

At noon Sunday, Andy Reid addressed the team in a big meeting room. Players described their coach as stoic and strong. Tears fell from the eyes of some in the room, and Reid expressed his appreciation for his players.

"He feels this in two different places because he knows he has to be with his family," safety Kurt Coleman said, "but he also wants to be with his football family because he loves our team, and he loves being around us all the time."

Kelce saw the coach and offered condolences. He said that Andy Reid's wife, Tammy, was on the West Coast when she learned of their son's death.

"She had to find out about that and then fly all the way out here," Kelce said. "I saw the two sons [Britt and Spencer] come in. It was a rough day for them."

The last interaction linebacker Casey Matthews had with Garrett Reid was on Saturday, when Reid tried to convince Matthews to cut his flowing blond locks.

Former Harriton High School athletic director Nick Settanni remembered when Garrett Reid and several friends visited him at Bryn Mawr Hospital after Settanni suffered a heart attack in 2004.

"Everything he's been through speaks volumes about the character of this kid," Settani said.

It was that character the Reid family wanted to share in the 221-word statement released Monday night.

"He made us laugh, he was a pleasure to be around, he always had a smile on his face, and we will miss him dearly," Andy Reid said. "We will never forget him, and we will remember him with love."


Contact Zach Berman at zberman@phillynews.com or follow on Twitter @ZBerm.

Staff writer Jeff McLane contributed to this article.

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