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Reids to share family struggle

The most interesting chapter about the 2007 Eagles season won't be one you'll find in the team's media guide next season.

The most interesting chapter about the 2007 Eagles season won't be one you'll find in the team's media guide next season.

Where you'll find it instead is in Philadelphia magazine, which rolled out a news release yesterday touting its January cover story. In an exclusive interview, Andy and Tammy Reid tell their side of the tragic off-the-field saga that began with the arrest of two of their sons in separate incidents last Jan. 30.

Garrett, 24, and Britt, 22, each have received 23-month jail terms for various offenses. Garrett is expected to face more charges for smuggling pills into the Montgomery County prison.

Both boys made several courtroom visits, culminating with a Nov. 1 sentencing hearing during which Common Pleas Judge Steven T. O'Neill lectured the parents for their parenting skills gone amiss.

Amid an up-and-down season for the Eagles in which many surmised that the coach's focus was (or should be) elsewhere, he and his wife have been silent about how their sons went astray and about the subsequent effects of their behavior on themselves and their family.

The Reids have three younger children - all teens, two girls and a boy. Andy took some time off from the Eagles before the April draft to deal with his issues at home, and his first request to reporters upon his return to work was for patience and understanding, and for no questions to be asked about his boys. Reporters have obliged.

In the interim, Andy said in a statement released by the Eagles yesterday, he and his wife "have struggled with the proper way to handle our family's personal situation in a public platform."

It was a situation, he added, that other families struggle with, an awareness heightened by the "outpouring" of correspondence he said they have received since the news first broke and morphed into a national forum. Speaking out, he said, provides a chance "to have a positive impact on many other people's lives."

Reid called the story "long and complex," and said, "We felt that a magazine was the best format to tell such a story."

He noted that, because of some open legal issues, "there is still much we cannot discuss."

Still, according to the magazine, the Reids will talk about plenty, including the history of Garrett's drug abuse and stints in rehab centers that cover a number of years. This long episode, Reid said in the piece, has at times left his son a shell of himself.

"When he got home, we were surprised by his appearance," Reid said. "You're talking about a kid 6-foot-4, close to 6-5, and he was 168 pounds. He'd lost almost a hundred pounds."

Andy and Tammy Reid say they have no intention of walking away from their troubled sons at this point.

"We raised these boys," Tammy says. "We taught them to pray, taught them to ride their bikes. You see this potential in him [Garrett], and you're not going to give up."

Much of the commentary in the wake of the news has centered on Andy's long hours and the perception that he needs to take off for an extended period or to resign. Hired in 1999 as coach, he added the title of executive vice president of football operations in May 2001.

But Andy says this year's turmoil at home hasn't been unique. "We've dealt with Garrett's situation for a long time, and we've done it through Super Bowls and championships," he says. "It's new to a lot of people, but it's not new to us."

The magazine is expected to be on newsstands on Wednesday. *