Andy Reid says Eagles need a tough coach

Posted: January 12, 2013

"You gotta have an ego that's built with shoe leather" to coach in Philadelphia, according to ex-Eagles head coach Andy Reid.

He also defended quarterback Michael Vick as "a very kind person" who lost his starting job in Philadelphia only because of injury.

Reid's remarks about Philly, Vick and plans as the new Kansas City coach came during interviews on a couple of national radio shows. Reid has long seemed more comfortable and forthcoming on such interviews than during postgame Q-and-A's with local media.

"You can't be sensitive. You gotta go in and you gotta be tough," Reid said Wednesday to Jim Rome on the CBS Sports Radio network, which airs locally on 610 AM. That's when he made the "shoe leather" remark.

Philly fans "are right with you," Reid said Thursday on ESPN's Mike & Mike in the Morning, which airs locally on 97.5 The Fanatic. "If you stink, they're going to let you know you stink. If you do good, they're going to let you know you do good."

Similar sentiments were recently expressed by Ron Jaworski, who heard his share of boos while quarterbacking for the Eagles.

"We know the job in Philly is not for everyone," the ESPN analyst said. "You better not be sensitive, you better have a tough skin, you better have a strong backbone, and be able to deal with the media and the fans of this town."

That was one reason the Eagles should hire a proven coach like TV analysts Bill Cowher, who played for the Eagles, or Jon Gruden, who was an offensive coordinator here, according to Jaworski.

Not that Reid knocked Philadelphia or its fans.

"You enjoy that ride right there," Reid told Rome. "That's a great city and they're passionate. They're going to let you know what's good and what's bad. It's not going to be any different than you think."

"I enjoyed the time there," Reid said to Mike & Mike cohost Mike Greenberg and ex-Chiefs coach Herm Edwards. "That's a great city. . . . I worked for a heck of an owner there. Overall, it was just a great experience. My family loved and still loves Philadelphia."

One of Reid's biggest challenges in turning around the 2-14 Chiefs will be to find or develop a winning quarterback.

On both radio shows, Reid dodged questions about any hopes of getting Vick, whose huge contract and problems with injuries and turnovers might lead the Eagles to release him.

But he told Greenberg and Edwards that performance wasn't the reason Vick was replaced this season by rookie Nick Foles as Eagles starting quarterback.

"Michael got hurt and then it allowed Nick to play. That's why Nick had that opportunity. It wasn't because of Mike's on-field play," Reid said.

Then he praised Vick as a person.

"I love that kid," Reid said. " ... The football player aside, this kid changed his life around and got himself back on track. He's got that big heart and he's a very kind person."

Perhaps adding to the Vick speculation is the loyalty Reid has shown to various players and coaches, like ex-Eagles quarterback and quarterbacks coach, Doug Peterson, whom Reid just named to be the Chiefs offensive coordinator.

Vick got little love, though, on Rome's CBS Sports Network TV show, where "a pile of kind of crud" was used by a sportswriter to describe the crop of experienced quarterbacks who might be available in the offseason. Vick, Alex Smith, Matt Flynn, Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow were lumped together under that phrase by Sports Illustrated's Jeff Pearlman.

No mention was made of former Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb, who recently said he was leery about returning as a stopgap, backup or potential scapegoat.

Although no college quarterback is worth drafting with the Chief's No. 1 overall pick, Reid might land one at the top of the second round, suggested Sports Illustrated's Lee Jenkins on Rome's TV show.

Reid raised another possibility: Resurrecting the career of a passer already on the Kansas City roster, like Matt Cassel and Brady Quinn.

"I'm going to make sure I look at what I've got here first," Reid said on Mike & Mike.

All the recent reshufflings of coaches and schemes in Kansas City might have been tough on the team's quarterbacks, he suggested.

Reid also told Greenberg he never thought about taking a year off, and said the way to handle the draft is to go for the best players.

"I think we all get into trouble when we start forcing the position," he said, mocking the thought process that starts with "Oh, I need a quarterback," which can result in later thinking, "Oh, man."

"Look, there's no secret. Good football players, and good coaches, normally good things happen. That's how it works," Reid said.


Contact staff writer Peter Mucha at 215-854-4342 or pmucha@phillynews.com.

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