The man be­hind Reid’s per­sona

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - SPORTS -

Andy Reid won 130 games in 14 sea­sons with the Ea­gles, far and away the most in the his­tory of the fran­chise.

How do we re­mem­ber the liv­ing leg­end?

For his ec­cen­tric clock and time­out man­age­ment, his ab­ject fear of a ground-and-pound run­ning game and the way he opened his news con­fer­ences with “in­juries” and “time’s yours.”

More re­cently the three-en­trée or­der that owner Jef­frey Lurie said he sprung for to ac­com­mo­date Big Red while firm­ing up the deal to make him head coach has got­ten con­sid­er­able trac­tion. That’s partly be­cause Reid topped 400 pounds at var­i­ous times in a Philly tour that ended af­ter the

2012 sea­son.

Foot­ball coaches are mea­sured by wins. The por­tion of Reid hid­den from the public per­sona is strik­ingly hu­man.

Ask Fa­ther Joseph Cam­pel­lone, who cel­e­brates the con­cern and kind­ness Reid con­tin­ues to show his late brother, Tim, and the Cam­pel­lone fam­ily, each and ev­ery day.

Fa­ther Joe was the pres­i­dent of Fa­ther Judge, in the Holmes­burg sec­tion of Philadel­phia, and a diehard Ea­gles fan along with Tim when they met Reid at a gath­er­ing in Cen­ter City Philadel­phia. It was reg­u­lar guys talk­ing to a reg­u­lar guy. They spoke about

life and foot­ball, not in that or­der. Reid stayed in con­tin­u­ous con­tact with them while Tim - nick­named “Dags” - bat­tled can­cer.

It was Au­gust of 2006 and the Ea­gles were com­ing off of a pre­sea­son win over the Cleve­land Browns. Reid tele­phoned Tim and asked him what he thought of the per­for­mance. Dur­ing the back and forth and the friendly sug­ges­tions, Reid told Tim to come up with a play call he liked for the next pre­sea­son game. Tim wasn’t do­ing well but he knew what he wanted to go deep. It would be the first play of the game.

“Tim told him ‘Dono­van McNabb fakes to Reno Mahe, three steps back and throws 30 yards to Darne­r­ion McCants,’” Fa­ther Joe re­called.

It be­ing the third pre­sea­son

game, the one where the starters not only start but play ex­ten­sively, Reid hinted that he pre­ferred a play with a start­ing re­ceiver, which McCants was not.

“Tim said ‘Andy, you asked me to call the play, didn’t you?’” Fa­ther Joe said. “So we’re all sit­ting around the hospi­tal bed for the game. It was a hospice at this point with the whole fam­ily. And all of the sud­den we hear Mer­rill Reese say­ing, ‘I don’t un­der­stand, what is McCants in there for? Is there an in­jury we don’t know about?’ The first play was the play Timmy called, Dono­van takes three steps, fakes to Mahe, passes to McCants. It was pass in­ter­fer­ence, they gained (33) yards.

“And then the next day Andy called, and Timmy

had just passed.”

This is where it’s dif­fi­cult to tell the story. This is where the eyes get wa­tery, the breath­ing short. Tim Cam­pel­lone was 38. Reid, who was 48, at­tended the ser­vices and helped con­sole a grate­ful fam­ily.

“That was kind of amaz­ing and sad at the same time,” Fa­ther Joe said. “When you see the me­dia news con­fer­ences and hear the time’s yours, the one thing I used to get mad about it is that peo­ple don’t know you ex­cept the peo­ple that are close to you. But I un­der­stood the method. He re­ally wanted to pro­tect his play­ers. As a man­ager and a leader he would never throw them un­der the bus. And he would al­ways de­flect any­thing. And I think the way han­dled the me­dia in Philadel­phia was pre­cisely

be­cause he wanted to pro­tect his play­ers and he wanted to be the one to take it for the team.”

Fa­ther Joe’s story about Reid has no end­ing. The priest flew to Kansas City with oth­ers and got to­gether with Reid, now the head coach of the Chiefs. On Sun­day they’ll watch the Ea­gles op­pose the Chiefs at Ar­row­head Sta­dium. You bet­ter be­lieve that Tim Cam­pel­lone, who would have been 50, will join them in spirit.

You wouldn’t know it, ba­si­cally be­cause Reid isn’t a self-pro­moter but there are plenty of other ex­am­ples of his com­pas­sion. He reached out to the fam­ily of the late Charles Cas­sidy, the Philadel­phia po­lice of­fi­cer gunned down, among oth­ers, to try to lessen their grief.

“He’s just a su­per hu­man

be­ing that did the or­di­nary things ex­traor­di­nar­ily well,” Fa­ther Joe said. “But he didn’t want to be an ex­tra­or­di­nary spokesman. He wanted to be an or­di­nary guy who could re­late. And I think he had a gen­uine­ness and a sin­cer­ity that you don’t see in a lot of peo­ple. You don’t see that in sports that much.

“Just a su­per hu­man be­ing. And I’ll tell you, his coaches, like Doug Ped­er­son, are just like him.”

The next time we hear the three-en­trée story, we’ll smile, but counter with Tim Cam­pel­lone.

Af­ter all, a man is what he does, not what he says or in this im­pul­sive age of so­cial me­dia, what he tweets. Time’s yours, Big Red. To con­tact Bob Grotz, email bgrotz@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com.

Bob Grotz

Columnist

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