The Health of Andy Reid


May 14, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Chiefs head coach

Andy Reid

walks on the field during organized team activities at the University of Kansas Hospital Training Complex. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

One of the many reasons why Chiefs fans are so excited about the 2013 season is the hire of new head coach Andy Reid. Reid has received a lot of comparisons to Marty Schottenheimer – a very good coach who just cannot manage to win the “big game” – and given what the Chiefs have had at the head coaching position over the last few seasons, this is a massive upgrade.

However, there have been concerns about the timing of the hire. Reid’s son Garrett died of a drug overdose at Eagles training camp last August, which is the major low-light of a season of difficulty in Reid’s life. Many felt after Reid was fired by the Philadelphia Eagles on December 31 that he should take a year off from football to recharge himself both physically and mentally.

Reid felt otherwise.

Now, barely a year removed from his son’s death, seven months removed from being hired by the Chiefs, and burdened with a completely new set of expectations, Reid appears to be ready for his new challenge, according to ESPN’s Ashley Fox.

"For those who have been with him throughout his career as a head coach, the change in Reid in the past seven months is striking.“I’ve seen life back in him,” said Chiefs offensive coordinator Doug Pederson, who played and coached under Reid with the Eagles.“He’s got so much energy. It’s scary,” said Chiefs trainer Rick Burkholder, who was the Eagles’ trainer throughout Reid’s 14-season tenure in Philadelphia.“I just see a rejuvenated guy, you know?” said assistant head coach David Culley, who served as a Philadelphia assistant during Reid’s entire tenure there. “And it’s good to see, especially with all the things that happened in the last year.”"

There’s quotes like this up and down this very well put together piece by Fox. You can see the change in Reid both on and off the field, and possibly see why Reid did not think it was necessary for him to take the year off that everyone so deeply thought he should take.

It can be difficult to read from the outside what is going on inside a person’s mind, so it could be that Reid is saying the right things but feeling very differently. However, actions are hard to hide. When one sees positive behavioral changes it helps validate comments like the one Reid makes here.

"“I think, sometimes, change is good,” Reid said. “I think it’ll be great for Philadelphia. I think it’ll be good for the Chiefs. Personally, I feel good. I’m enjoying this. It’s good to be challenged. When you’re someplace a long time, you know the routine, and sometimes getting out of that routine can be good. Brings a little energy, maybe.”In moving forward, Reid has also moved back. He has rediscovered what made him successful — coaching — and that has made him happy. That much is obvious."

Timing is everything in sports. KC may have attached themselves too early to Reid, maybe Reid did need that year off. Maybe the state of the Chiefs franchise is one that has Reid destined to fail. But it is also equally possible the Chiefs and Reid knew exactly what they were getting from each other, and knew this would be the best fit in more ways than one. Hopefully that latter is true, and the encouraging comments from this article only improve as time goes on.

For now, it seems like the gamble was a good one for both Reid and the Chiefs.