Poor Andy Reid.
It's one thing, for any parent, to have to deal with the .
But it's another, when you're the coach of the , to cope with that death when a season of high expectations is on the horizon.
After last year's 8-8 finish, the longtime coach—arguably the best in franchise history—was put on notice by team owner Jeffrey Lurie for faltering during a "Dream Team" season in which it seemed nothing short of a Super Bowl would match expectations.
This year's team looked very sharp and determined at , but the tragedy of cast a dark cloud over that hope as the team broke camp.
If you're in Reid's shoes, is this season going to be fair to the coach? No way.
There's no way any human being can rebound from such a tragedy and suddenly focus like everything is fine and nothing has changed. Reid, a noted tough guy, can try all he wants to hide his emotions. He can put all his energy and focus into his job and his football team.
But how can anybody overcome such a tragedy? If, as they say, time heals all wounds, will Reid be given that time in the now-now-now NFL?
As compassionate people, we all should give Reid a mulligan for this year; if he fails, blame it on his devastation.
But this is Philadelphia and the National Football League. If Reid had decided to take the season off to handle his grief, although everyone would understand, Philly's fan base and media would probably recount the story as him bailing on his team.
If Reid soldiers on and the losses mount, everyone will say that his mind is elsewhere and that Reid shouldn't be on the sidelines. In other words, Reid is in a no-win situation this year.
Maybe, just maybe, the team rallies around the coach, dedicates the season to Garrett Reid, and wins the . Maybe the tragedy gives them an emotional edge to do whatever it takes to win the championship. In reality, that's a lot to ask.
Reid will say all the right things. He'll tell everyone that he's fine and doing his job. He'll say that the best place for him to recover is on a football field. But Reid just might not have it in him this year.
When, as head coach of the Indianapolis Colts, Tony Dungy lost his son to suicide, the news broke amid a monster season in which the team had compiled a 14-1 record. But its heart went out in the playoffs, and it wasn't until the following year that Dungy led the Colts to a Super Bowl title.
So maybe this isn't the year for the Birds based on this tragedy. Maybe it will take a year for Reid to mend and to be somewhat capable of having the fire back in his belly. No one could fault him for needing it.
But is that enough for Philadelphia Eagles fans? Can we wait another season?
We just might have to.
Dino Ciliberti edits the Palmer/Forks Patch. He covers professional sports throughout the Lehigh Valley.