Reading the

Philadelphia

magazine interview in which Andy and Tammy Reid speak in detail about their sons' drug problems, it seems clear that the Reids see older son Garrett's troubles as being much more serious than younger son Britt's, and that they don't blame their family's fame or the demands of Andy's job coaching the Eagles for what has happened.

Both Reid sons are behind bars at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility for up to 23 months after being convicted of drug, weapons and traffic offenses. In the story, the first extensive public comment by Andy and Tammy Reid since both sons were arrested following separate incidents last Jan. 30, the Reids say they've been trying to help Garrett get control of his life since summer 2002 when he came home from Brigham Young University and sought their help kicking an OxyContin addiction.

"For an addict, it's you and the drug. That's what it comes down to," Andy Reid told interviewer Robert Huber in the January issue of the magazine, scheduled to hit newsstands on Wednesday. "We are a close family, but the drugs, they don't care about that."

The question-and-answer format article, which Huber said yesterday on WIP Radio was read over, edited and approved by the Reids, references several rehab stints for Garrett, 24, including the treatment in Florida for which Andy Reid took a 6-week leave-of-absence from the Eagles to attend with his son last spring.

"It was like learning Spanish in 6 weeks, without knowing a word of it," he said.

Garrett Reid later failed a drug test, then was further charged after attempting to smuggle drugs into jail following his arrest.

"With kids in their 20s, they think they've got it, but it's like fighting a grizzly bear," Andy Reid said. "It's a tough struggle."

Tammy Reid said of the oldest of her five children: "Over the years, he's done so many things, it's all blobbed together in our minds."

Although the article goes into much less detail about Britt Reid's situation, it seems possible his parents didn't know he, too, was involved in drugs until he was arrested last January for waving a gun during a traffic dispute.

"He's not the one who goes out and picks fights," Tammy Reid said of Britt, 21. "He's sensitive and tender. He's like Andrew."

Tammy also defended her husband's performance as a father, saying she tells him what functions he needs to attend, although he is known for spending at least a few nights a week in the office and working obsessively.

"He will drop a meeting, he will drop whatever he's doing, if our kids need him," she said. "So it's not like we're ever competing with his job."

Andy Reid spoke up when he and his wife were asked their reaction to Montgomery County Judge Steven O'Neill referring to their home as "like a drug emporium" in sentencing Britt last month.

"Were we sad, disappointed? Yes. But we understand how things work. We have never been too sensitive to what others say," he said. "We know, and the people closest to us know, what it's like to be in our home."

At one point, the Reids said, they tried "tough love," when Garrett faltered after his second trip to rehab and was living in Arizona.

"He called home only a handful of times. And never to me," Andy Reid said. "It just fell apart. In Arizona, he was living out of his car. He finally called me and was very distraught, and I called Tam to have her check on him."

Tammy Reid arranged to get Garrett home. When he arrived, his parents were shocked by his appearance - he'd left weighing about 260 pounds, on a nearly 6-5 frame; he came home weighing 168.

"There's no right or wrong" in dealing with addiction, Andy Reid said, "because everything has worked for somebody along the way, and then nothing has worked for somebody along the way."

The Reids say their three younger children are getting plenty of support as they deal with the very public troubles of their brothers.

"Their friends, teachers and coaches actually protect them, almost enclosing them, like bison around their young," Andy Reid said. "It's unreal."

Andy and Tammy Reid expressed their thanks for the many messages of support they've received. They added that they are "especially proud that our boys are taking responsibility for their lives." *