The most glaring indication of how different these last few days have been for the Eagles was the admission by Vick that some players were surprised by Andy Reid's presence at practice.
There were two prevailing reactions among a sampling of Eagles after Wednesday's mock game, the final tune-up for preseason opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The first reaction was a human one, of surprise by the suddenness of Reid's return with insistence that a man can grieve however he deems fit. The second reaction was of loyalty, with the players supporting the coach the way they say he does them.
"I'm honored to have him back," wide receiver DeSean Jackson said. "With the funeral yesterday, and 24 hours, he's right back with us. It just shows us how important he is and how much he cares about this football team. We just want to uplift him and uplift his spirits and everything like that. Just make him feel in a comfort zone."
Jackson and Vick admitted to surprise that Reid was back coaching so soon. But it's a return they welcomed. Defensive end Brandon Graham said he learned a lesson from Reid about doing one's job amid the chaos of life.
"It kind of fired us up a bit, too, because in my eyes, he could have been off the whole week, took as much time as he needed," Graham said. "It happened Sunday, and he's back Wednesday. That lets us know right there that when stuff like that happens, for me, I know I'm going to deal with that and come right back. You've got to be strong."
One player who is dealing with a return to the field despite mixed emotions is defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, the first-round pick. Cox missed time during the weekend to return to his native Mississippi for his cousin's funeral. So he attended two funerals in a week. When he saw Andy Reid after Garrett Reid's death, he didn't know what to say.
Cox recalled a conversation he had with Reid on Thursday about attending a funeral, which provided a degree of comfort. He spoke about needing to deal with the pain and focusing on football, as if what occurs between the lines can become a sanctuary.
Tuesday's funeral provided a degree of closure for the players, Kurt Coleman said, and that better allows them to concentrate on football. Jackson said Reid's message in the huddle during practice was about the team's pregame routine.
"I've done that once or twice, so I have that part down," Reid said about being able to process on the field. "I always tell the players there are four things that you go about in life and how you approach it. The first is eliminating distractions. Another is to create energy. You fear nothing, and then you attack everything. That's how you have to go about life."
In turn, Vick emphasized to Reid how much he and the team love him. And it's in that spirit that Reid returns - not just because the Eagles need him but because he's with a different part of his family when he's on the field and in the locker room.
"He's back with his family, his football family," Vick said. "Coach knows we love him as a man first and as a coach second."