Brothers Matt and Dallas Reynolds reunited on Eagles

Posted: September 06, 2012

LANCE AND Leslie Reynolds have one daughter and four sons, and all of the sons have played on the offensive line for Brigham Young University. The middle two will dress for practice in the Eagles' locker room Wednesday, Dallas in his first week as a part of the 53-man roster, after 3 years on the practice squad, and Matt on his first day of taking up Dallas' practice-squad banner, after being cut last week by the Carolina Panthers.

"It's been a real unique experience. When they were young, I wouldn't even have dreamed this would happen," Lance Reynolds said Tuesday from his office at BYU, where he coaches the Cougars' tight ends. The elder Reynolds, who also played on the BYU offensive line, began his coaching career there as a graduate assistant in 1979-80, when Eagles coach Andy Reid played guard for the Cougars. Reynolds, a ninth-round draft choice of the Steelers in 1978, returned to BYU after being cut by Pittsburgh and by the Eagles, he said.

He said when his boys started playing organized sports, he realized they were "big, old dudes" compared to the other kids, but all four playing at BYU? And now, two in Philadelphia?

"What a great deal," Lance Reynolds said. "We absolutely love the Eagles. Coach Reid and his family are first-class . . . We hope it's going to last for a while."

Lance Jr. was briefly with the Seahawks after being signed as an undrafted free agent in 2006. Dallas was undrafted and signed with the Eagles in 2009. Matt expected to be drafted this year, but ended up going the same route as his brothers, with Carolina. Houston is a BYU junior.

Dallas Reynolds alone is an interesting story. You can only spend 3 years on an NFL practice squad before you have to move along, make a roster or figure out something else to do with your life. Dallas was at that point this summer when he managed to beat out Julian Vandervelde, a 2011 sixth-round pick, and veteran NFL center State Vallos for the job backing up starting center Jason Kelce.

"That's a long time," Lance Reynolds noted, when asked about Dallas' 3-year redshirt. He remembered times when Dallas would call, "wondering," Lance said, if there was a point to the extended practice-squad journey, and the father would remind the son of the positives - "he had the weight room, he had great coaches, he had a good situation for learning. He was playing against [NFL players] every day, so keep learning and getting better."

Dallas acknowledged those doubts. "I've loved it here in Philadelphia, I've loved the team," he said Tuesday night, "but you want it [a real playing career] so bad. Every offseason you work hard to try to improve and try to learn."

For Dallas, two offseasons in a row ended up right back on the practice squad, running scout-team plays, watching home games in sweats from the sideline, watching road games on TV, not part of the traveling group. He was on the active roster briefly at the very end of his rookie season but never played in a game.

"I knew going into this year that your 3 years is up and this is your last chance to make it," he said. Dallas is 28, an advanced age thanks in part to having served a Mormon mission in Seattle. He has a wife and a daughter.

"You feel the pressure, just to be able to provide for your family," he said. "You can't focus on that completely . . . you have to focus on your job and the specifics of what you've got to get done. But yeah, when you sit back and think about it, it does weigh a lot on your mind. You've got to take care of your family."

Dallas' Plan B was to go back to BYU and complete the semester he needs for a geography degree, then think about something he might be able to do in a field like urban development. But as both Reid and Lance Reynolds noted, Dallas (6-4, 320) got stronger this year, and his athleticism proved a good fit for offensive-line coach Howard Mudd's system.

"He's very good in one-on-one pass [protection]. He might be the best guy in one-on-one pass pro. He's just very solid," Kelce said.

Back in Utah, the long-awaited good news of Dallas finally making the Eagles was tempered by the bad news that Matt - 6-4, 310, a more heralded prospect than Dallas coming out of college - had been cut by the Panthers. He waited through the weekend to see if he was in Carolina's practice-squad plans. Then on Monday, after loading up the car and driving less than an hour west of Charlotte, Matt got the news that he was instead bound for Philadelphia, for a tryout that ended with a practice-squad berth.

Dallas said since Matt, (26, an age that reflects his 2-year Mormon mission, to Germany) also is married, he'll look for his own place instead of moving in with his brother's family, but he's welcome to crash if he needs to. Matt, who also played with Dallas in high school and college, is new to the ways of practice-squad life; his brother might have written the book on it.

"Practice squad is a huge learning atmosphere," Dallas said. "You're sitting in all the meetings . . . You're out there to compete, but also to be a sponge and just soak up everything you can, from the coaches, from the veterans."

Back in Provo, Lance Reynolds is hoping to get to an Eagles game at some point, maybe later in the year, after BYU's regular season ends. Who knows - by then, Matt could be on the 53-man roster with Dallas. But Lance would also like to catch up with that 1980 BYU guard who took over Lance's graduate-assistant gig, when Lance moved up.

"A real competitive guy, easy to get along with, easy to talk to, a good listener, a good learner," Lance said of the Eagles' head coach. "He learned quick . . . He was a fun guy to be around, then."


Contact Les Bowen at bowenl@phillynews.com. Follow him on Twitter @LesBowen. For more Eagles coverage and opinion, read the Daily News' blog at eagletarian.com.

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