Andy Reid has been one of the NFL’s most respected coaches since he got his first job in 1999, when he led the Philadelphia Eagles to four consecutive NFC Championship Games and a Super Bowl. He came to the Kansas City Chiefs for the 2013 season. Since then, he qualified for the playoffs in eight of nine years, with two trips to the Super Bowl and a Vince Lombardi Trophy.
Coach Reid is considered one of the best mentors in the league, as well as an offensive genius and quarterback trainer. However, his passion for the game has also been a factor in the addiction problems of two of his sons, Garrett and Britt, who were charged with drug trafficking, substance abuse problems and sadly two fatalities.
Garrett Reid’s fatal death
Garrett died from an accidental overdose in August 2012 and Britt, after several relapses, caused a severe substance impaired driving crash causing serious injuries to a 5-year-old girl prior to Super Bowl LV. On Monday, Britt pleaded guilty to the charges and expects to receive a four-year prison sentence.
While Reid did not drive his children to use drugs or get into more serious trouble, the onset of his problems coincided with one of the most demanding periods of Andy Reid’s career with the Eagles, when he was head coach, executive vice president of football operations and general manager.
So much passion he has shown for the game that he was even hired before his boss (Brett Veach), the team’s general manager and later participated in the interviews to select him. The press at the time (2013) documented how his hiring went with the Chiefs:
“The meeting (between Reid and Chiefs owner Clark Hunt) was scheduled in Philadelphia (four days after his dismissal from the Eagles and was introduced on Jan. 7, 2013. Reid’s agent, Bob LaMonte, thought the talk would take about three hours. But as they got to know each other, they hit it off so well that the time elapsed: four hours, then six, then eight hours of conversation. After nine hours, it was clear that Reid would be the Chiefs’ next coach.”
A loving family with an absent father
Andy Reid has been described as a big-hearted man with big blue eyes, married to Tammy Reid since 1981. The couple raised five children: Garrett, Britt, Drew Ann, Crosby and Spencer.
In 2007, Garrett and Britt were arrested for drug possession. At their hearing, the judge called the Reid home a “drug emporium” because of the large amount of drugs they were harboring. Although he acknowledged that both parents loved their children and had tried to help them.
Garrett spent 23 months in prison for causing a traffic crash while under the influence of heroin, but Andy only took a five-week leave of absence in the 2007 off-season and returned to full training.
The cost of being a head coach in the NFL
On August 5, 2012, Lehigh police called Andy Reid to inform him that Garrett was dead in his college dorm room from an accidental heroin overdose. He was 29 years old, just days before joining the Eagles as an assistant coach.
Reid took only three days to grieve and returned to practice. “This is what Garrett would have wanted,” he said.
For his part, Britt Reid, at age 22 received an eight- to 23-month jail sentence. He had been addicted to painkillers since high school. In 2007, he pulled a gun on a person in a traffic incident. He had worked as an assistant coach for the Chiefs since 2013 until he caused this accident that will land him in jail in the coming weeks.