Andy and Tammy Reid, who have turned down many media requests to speak about their family's struggle, decided to speak to

Philadelphia

magazine in the January issue, which comes out Wednesday, for two principal reasons, the Eagles' coach said yesterday.

Reid said he and his wife wanted to respond to the outpouring of support they've received from the community, and Reid said he wanted his players to read his account of his sons' problems with drugs, to answer any questions they had about the situation, before they scattered for the offseason.

"It was a way for us to share our story with others," Andy Reid said in his regular Friday news conference, as the team finished preparations for tomorrow's game at New Orleans, the next-to-last game of the season. "We've gotten tremendous support through this whole event. It was a way to reach out to those who are going through similar situations. It was an opportunity to do this while the players were still in town, and give them an opportunity to read about it, so that there would be no gray areas as they left town."

Asked what he hoped people would take from the article, Reid said: "That they're not the only ones. That this happens everywhere."

Reid did not take questions about his sons' troubles or about specifics of the interview, which was conducted earlier this month at the Reids' home, the week before the Eagles hosted the Giants. He was pressed about the timing, which one might think could have been a distraction, had the Birds not been eliminated from playoff contention on Monday.

"I don't think so," Reid said, when asked about the potential for distraction. "I wouldn't have done it if I thought that.

"Everybody's here," he reiterated. "Everybody is here that went through this. It was an opportunity, before the season is over, to make sure that everybody saw it and that there was no hearsay. Everything's right here, and I thought that was an important thing to do."

The Daily News couldn't find any players in the locker room yesterday who would acknowledge feeling they needed to know any more than they already knew about the problems that have led Garrett Reid, 24, and his brother, Britt, 21, to be incarcerated in the Montgomery County Correctional Facility.

"He's more than welcome to express that at any time he feels he needs to," cornerback Sheldon Brown said. "We, as players, don't worry about that. Half of us might not even be here next year. That doesn't matter. That's irrelevant [to us]."

Tight end L.J. Smith, who will miss the New Orleans game with a knee injury, said: "I don't need to know nothin' . . . Your kids don't always listen to your guidance. I know I've done things in the past I know I shouldn't have done, that my parents told me not to do. It is what it is. The people of Philadelphia are probably going to get a kick out of that more than I would."

Smith said he wasn't sure if he would read the interview.

Right guard Shawn Andrews, also out of tomorrow's game with a knee injury, was asked if he'd needed to know more about the Reid family's troubles. "Not at all," he said. "He's definitely a big man for stepping up and doing what he did."

Garrett and Britt Reid have spent time around the players, in low-level jobs, over the past several years. In Garrett Reid's case, he apparently was struggling with drug problems and in and out of rehab during that time.

"Not at all," Andrews said, when asked if the players were aware there was trouble. "I didn't really know them personally. I thought they were great guys when I saw 'em."

Birdseed

With

Shawn Andrews

sidelined by a knee injury, guard

Max Jean-Gilles

is scheduled to get the first start of his career tomorrow at New Orleans . . . Tight end

Matt Schobel

(concussion) did not practice and is doubtful for tomorrow . . . Wide receiver

Reggie Brown

(knee) and running back

Brian Westbrook

(knee) are questionable, although both are expected to play. Brown practiced fully, Westbrook was limited . . . Apparently,

Philadelphia

magazine has agreed to make a contribution to a charity of the Reid family's choosing as one of the conditions attached to the Reid interview. *