Leave it to Nnamdi Asomugha, whose very name implies wisdom, to clarify a muddled situation.

Every other player, when asked if the death of Garrett Reid on Aug. 5 would galvanize the Eagles, replied in the affirmative. How else could they reply?

Several players dedicated their season to the memory of Garrett, or to the Reid family, or to head coach Andy Reid. What else could they do?

Not Asomugha.

He understands that, like no other sport, football is business.

Football is cruel. Football is brutal. Football is constant desperation for 60 minutes.

It is not a memoriam.

It is fast and hard and reckless.

So, while it might be touching to say that this Eagles season is dedicated to Garrett, or Andy, or the Reid family as a whole, it is unrealistic.

Asked if the Birds might rally behind Garrett Reid's memory, Asomugha replied, frankly, "I don't know."

This was after Thursday's preseason debacle against the Steelers, whose first two units clobbered the Eagles'.

Or, rather, predictably, they clobbered the Eagles.

Garrett Reid, 29, was found dead Sunday morning in his dorm room at Lehigh University. A fixture around the team since his father became coach in 1999, Garrett had been serving as an aide to the strength and conditioning coaching staff for the past few months as he continued to fight drug-addiction issues that have haunted him for years.

His death took Andy Reid away from the team for just 3 days, the first 2 days live hitting days.

Those were the worst two Eagles practices in recent memory.

The Steelers have a bruising defense and a punishing running game, but what the Eagles trotted out there Thursday night is the stuff of which eight losses in 12 games is made.

Like last year.

Garrett Reid's death will not help the Eagles rebound from last year. Amid the grief, the sympathy, the awkwardness, Asomugha realizes this.

"Obviously, we have our goals apart from anything else," he said. "We just want to remember Garrett for who he was. I don't know how much of that will cross with football."

Asomugha meant no disrespect to the memory of Garrett Reid. He did not aim to belittle his teammates' words or their intentions.

It's just that Asomugha is, by far, the most grounded, introspective, thoughtful player the franchise has ever employed. Maybe the smartest, too, and the most worldly.

At the moment, he is the clearest thinker.

The Steelers shut out the Eagles' first and second teams and took a 13-0 lead into halftime. A stunned bunch of Birds acknowledged after the game that their minds had been elsewhere.

Said quarterback Michael Vick, who left the game with a sprained left thumb, "It's been a tough week. When I came over to the sideline and I was sitting there wondering if it was something severe with my finger, I could only reflect on what this past week has been like and just praying that my finger wasn't as bad as I thought."

Given Reid's autocratic rule, hardly any veteran player has not had an issue with him. Given Reid's unquestioned fairness, hardly any player in his history wishes him ill.

Famously, he suspended star receiver DeSean Jackson for a game last season. Remarkably, it was Jackson who leapt into Reid's arms when the backups pulled out a one-point win in the second half Thursday.

"Football is important to us, and we just wanted to relieve everything off of him by going out and doing our jobs and giving our best effort," Jackson said afterward. "Giving him the remembrance of his son in a good way and just thinking about all of us as his sons as well, too. So we just kind of wanted to support him the best way possible."

Support is fine.

Dredging it up the tragedy, week after week …

Andy Reid himself cringes at the prospect.

"That's not something I would ever ask. That's not how I operate," he said with a wince. "I hope this will be a rallying cry for those people that have had the same struggles."

Certainly, Reid appreciates the energy projected by the sympathies of his players. It helps him heal. It helps his four other children and his wife, Tammy, get past their most difficult hours.

Playing excellently would help a whole lot more.

Admitted running back LeSean McCoy, "This whole week has been tough for us. To have our coach back in the mix, it means a lot. The next game will be different."

That would be a fitting memorial.

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