BETHLEHEM — Legions of players, along with coaches, rival organizations and the NFL commissioner himself reached out to express condolences to Eagles coach Andy Reid and his family Sunday upon hearing news of the death of Reid's 29-year-old son Garrett Reid in a Lehigh dorm room.
At Lehigh, wideout Jason Avant recalled that Andy Reid was the first person to call him after Avant's father died last year in a South Jersey auto accident. Team chairman Jeffrey Lurie spoke of tragedy building strength, and referenced the death of his father, when Lurie was 9.
"We're praying as hard as we can for him, just to let him know this team really, really loves him," Avant said of the coach. "When this thing happened, we were hurting with him."
Lurie indirectly mentioned the Reid family's struggles with the drug problems of sons Garrett and Britt, which in Garrett's case lasted several years.
"I've watched Andy try so hard with his family over the years," Lurie said. "You hear so much about his family, but it's a hard one. You see a man that really cares, and sometimes … as he and I discussed, it's like life throws you curveballs. The thing to do … is you gain from loss, you gain from tragedy.
"I will always think that there's no way, today, I would own an NFL team if I hadn't lost my dad when I was 9. ... It made me stronger. There are choices to be made when tragedy happens. You become stronger and even more focused and learn from it and treat life as a challenge, or you can bow down."
The Phillies held a moment of silence before their home game against Arizona and put Garrett Reid's photo on the video scoreboard. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell issued a condolence statement via Twitter, Goodell pledging to support the Reids and the Eagles "any way we can through this difficult time."
Former Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb issued a statement: "I was both shocked and saddened when I heard the news this morning of Garrett's passing. During my time in Philadelphia, both Garrett and Britt spent a lot of time around the football team, and I know how much Andy loves them. ... My heart goes out to Andy, Tammy and the rest of the Reid family. I cannot imagine what they are feeling right now. God be with them."
Another former Eagles QB, Kevin Kolb, told reporters in Arizona: "Anybody that's been around Andy for any amount of time knows how important family is and how much his kids mean to him. This is devastating news. My heart goes out to Andy and Tammy. My thoughts and prayers are with all of them right now."
Injured safety Colt Anderson tweeted: " 'G' will truly be missed by all. Please pray for the Reid family."
At Dallas Cowboys training camp in Oxnard, Calif., coach Jason Garrett began his Sunday afternoon news conference by offering condolences to the Reids.
Dave Rank, owner of Starters Riverpoint, a restaurant and bar on the South Side of Bethlehem frequented by Eagles staffers and reporters, said that Garrett Reid and a friend dined at the restaurant Wednesday night.
"He looked fit. He looked like he felt great and was so full of life," Rank said. "He was in a great mood. He was smiling and happy to be working with the Eagles and his father. ... I never expected anything like this."
Rank said that Reid downed a burger and iced tea, and told him that his brother Britt recently got married.
"He genuinely cared about his family and he genuinely cared about other people," Rank said.
Rank said Garrett told him that he would be in touch after the weekend about getting Rank's family passes for training camp.
"I just feel so bad for his family and the whole organization," Rank said.
—Daily News staff writer Barbara Laker contributed to this report.