Eagles' judgment comes into question in Garrett Reid case
This Eagles season began under the pall of Garrett Reid's death. It is going to end the same way. There was nothing surprising in Monday's revelation that Andy Reid's 29-year-old son had steroids at the time of his death. Garrett Reid had steroids when he was first arrested all the way back in 2007, and it made intuitive sense that the mystery vials in his Lehigh dorm room contained more of the same.
This Eagles season began under the pall of Garrett Reid's death. It is going to end the same way.
There was nothing surprising in Monday's revelation that Andy Reid's 29-year-old son had steroids at the time of his death. Garrett Reid had steroids when he was first arrested all the way back in 2007, and it made intuitive sense that the mystery vials in his Lehigh dorm room contained more of the same.
It was obviously a terrible idea to have Garrett Reid around the team. It didn't prevent the worst possible outcome for him and for his family, and it raises uncomfortable and ugly questions about his access to the players.
Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie, in a prepared statement, said Garrett Reid's activity "runs counter to the values and principles mandated for everyone associated with our organization."
Strong words, except that none of those activities was new. Reid's history of drug addiction, steroid possession, and prison time would have disqualified anyone else on the planet from a job around an NFL team. But we're not talking about anyone else on the planet. We're talking about Andy Reid's son.
Clearly, the coach was trying very hard to save his son, to keep him close. Maybe being around the hard workers and high achievers in an NFL organization would influence the troubled young man.
That was the hope. The risk was that the troubled young man instead would influence or corrupt the people he came into contact with. Now that we have a more complete picture of the circumstances surrounding Garrett Reid's life and death, we know the risk was greater than any hope.
Vials of steroids. Enough syringes and needles to raise legitimate questions about whether he was providing performance-enhancers to others. And because he was given privileged access to an NFL weight room, it must be asked whether he provided them to Eagles players.
Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli said Monday there was no evidence that Reid sold or gave steroids to anyone else. Of course, he has no evidence of how Reid obtained steroids and heroin in the first place.
Let's be honest. This is hardly a high-priority matter for law enforcement officials with more pressing problems. A young man is dead by his own hand. Whether some football player was juicing doesn't really rise to the level of a major crime.
That is a matter for the NFL. Lurie said the team would cooperate with the league, but gave no indication whether an investigation was forthcoming.
Frankly, the steroids in Garrett Reid's room were relatively primitive, the kind that would have turned up on even the NFL's easily beaten tests. There was no human-growth hormone, none of the fast-acting testosterone patches that are more in vogue with professional athletes.
But the issue isn't Garrett Reid's judgment. It is the Eagles' judgment.
Andy Reid took a risk to try to save his son. His son repaid him with another mess, this one too big to clean up. That's the deal with addicts. They will lie and cover up and take advantage of every weakness. Worst of all, they turn love into the ultimate weakness.
The situation speaks to the state of the Eagles organization over the last few years. Reid had become so entrenched and so powerful, no one seemed capable of questioning his judgment or challenging his decisions.
That dynamic had consequences on the field. The last two dreadful seasons were direct results of Reid's poor decision-making - Juan Castillo, Jim Washburn, some of the free agents and draft picks.
If Lurie and other Eagles officials couldn't persuade Reid to not put an offensive line coach in charge of his defense, how could they take a strong stand when he wanted his troubled son to work with players in the weight room? It wouldn't even have meant an absolute no. How about: "Hey, Andy, maybe we can get him involved in marketing or sales or something. Anything but working with players."
Some of the players still have white cards memorializing Garrett Reid on display in their lockers: "Be not afraid of greatness. Some are born great. Some achieve greatness. And others have greatness thrust upon them. RIH [Rest in Heaven] Garrett Reid."
Garrett Reid is at rest. With his final acts, he made sure there can be no rest for his father.