BETHLEHEM — When shocked and grieving, clear communication becomes difficult.
The shock and grief only amplify when death visits the young and promising.
The Eagles on Sunday communicated this, clearly: The death of Andy Reid's firstborn will not impede the team's scheduled work.
Sooner than later, Andy Reid will be back on the field, directing those efforts.
"I expect Andy to be coaching this week, and back," team owner Jeffrey Lurie said. "He is very, very focused on both his family and his profession."
Reid's troubled son, Garrett, 29, was found dead in his dorm room Sunday morning. Reid missed Sunday's practices and meetings, which continued without him.
Any speculation that the tragedy will dampen Reid's passion for coaching should be doused now.
Garrett was the eldest of the five Reid children, all of whom are out of high school. Lurie, who hired Reid in January 1999, saw them all grow up. Lurie stood by Reid during Garrett's battles with addiction that led to two stints in jail and while his younger brother Britt followed a similar path.
Reid took a leave of absence after the 2007 season to fortify his family's underpinnings. He will not take much time off now.
Lately, both sons appeared to have resolved their issues.
Lurie postponed his annual news conference that deals with the state of the team. Instead, he addressed the team for 2 minutes on the field about the death of Garrett Reid, about Andy Reid's state of mind and about how the team should progress.
Lurie then addressed the assembled media and issued a statement that painted Reid as a grieving father — and a relentless professional.
"He's a rock-solid man," Lurie said. "It's unimaginable, the pain. Losing a son is unimaginable. Losing a child is unimaginable. Yet he is rock-solid."
"All he wanted to talk to me about is how incredibly excited he is for this football team. He wanted me to know that. Secondly, that he treasures these practices. He feels bad that he's not going to be at practice today or probably tomorrow."
Obviously, Reid did not burden his employer with the aching, soul-rending agony and guilt that accompanied the death of his most challenging child.
Instead, Reid assured Lurie that this latest chapter in the Reid family story will not render him unfit to coach.
Lurie equated Garrett Reid's death with that of Lurie's father, who died when Jeffrey was 9. That, Lurie said, helped him become resolute enough to eventually purchase an NFL franchise — a resolve Lurie pointed to in his conversations with Reid on Sunday.
" 'Life throws you curveballs,' " Lurie said he told Reid. "He said to me, 'I'm going to hit that curveball. And hit it out of the park. On the field and off the field.' "
Lest Reid be cast as callous on perhaps the worst day of his family's life, Lurie was sure to note that Reid's world was shattered.
"This is a father grieving. Fully grieving," said Lurie, who has witnessed Reid's struggle to allot time for his brood despite the demands of an NFL head coach. Lurie choked up as he continued: "I've watched Andy try so hard with his family over the years. He cares so much about his family. Sometimes what happens happens, in life."
As Reid sees it, the fate of a $1 billion organization rests on his decisions, on his acumen, on his innovation. Even a day or two of his inattention could be costly.
"He feels so bad that he's interfering with their success; today, tomorrow," Lurie marveled. "In this moment of terrible pain, he's reaching out to all of us."
This is the message, Lurie said, that Reid sent to the players, a message Lurie delivered as they knelt in front of him in the withering afternoon sun:
"You have to accept the grief and the tears and, at the same time, gather the strength to be excellent."
Nobody wants to think about the tragic death of Garrett Reid in terms of how it affects the Eagles, but ultimately, that is an issue that has to be addressed.
Offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg and defensive coordinator Juan Castillo were placed in charge of the team Sunday, and they presumably will remain in charge Monday. Lurie said Reid regretted having to be away Sunday and probably Monday. Garrett Reid's funeral is scheduled for Tuesday, which already was an off day for Eagles players. The team is to hold a mock game — really a closed walk-through — Wednesday, then open its preseason Thursday at Lincoln Financial Field against the Steelers.
All indications are that Reid intends to coach that game.
Practice was a quiet, low-key affair Sunday, and it figures to be much the same Monday.