It was far from a love fest, but the Andy Reid was in surprisingly good spirits two days before he makes his return to the Linc.
When asked what he missed most about Philadelphia, the old Eagles coach deadpanned, “You guys,” on a conference call Tuesday with local reporters.
Reid said he had traded his appetite for cheesesteaks in for Kansas City barbecue. As the talk moved on to Thursday night’s football game, Reid, in typical fashion, played it cool. He promised not be nostalgic as he exits that visitor’s tunnel.
“That’s not where I’m at right now. I don’t feel that way,” Reid said. “This is the thing: If we weren’t playing a football game against a good football team, maybe your mind goes there. I don’t see my mind going there. My mind is going to be on the job at hand and what we’ve got to get accomplished in a tough place to play.”
It’s hard not to think he won’t have a huge advantage in this one. After all, he’s the guy who drafted a large majority of the roster. He’s also the coach who resurrected Mike Vick. Still, Reid wouldn’t admit to having the upper hand.
“I don’t think it hurts you, I don’t think that happens,” he said. “But, after that, you still got to go play, that’s what you still got to go do.”
Forever linked by a city and a football team
There are many people responsible for raising Mike Vick back from the dead. From his wife, Kijafa, who stuck with him during his 21 months locked up in federal prison to his mentor, Tony Dungy, who had the ear of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
But perhaps the man he owes the most gratitude to is Andy Reid. The former Eagles coach who made the bold decision to sign Vick when no other team was willing to take on all that extra baggage. Instead of it becoming a distraction, Vick thrived under Reid’s guidance. He was named NFL Comeback Player of the Year in 2010.
“I loved him,” Reid admitted Tuesday. “I was so happy to see the way he grew, more even as a person but also as a football player. He was so open to everything you wanted to teach him and he’s doing the same thing with Chip [Kelly]. He’s just absorbing everything and I think he’s doing a heck of a job.”
Vick called Reid a great man and friend, someone he’ll make sure his children know about even if they never get a chance to meet him.
” They’ll know about all the people in my life, all the ones that I give a great deal of credit to,” Vick said. “Andy Reid is somebody who will go down in my book as one of the greatest coaches of all-time and one of the greatest men I’ve ever met.”
The two still keep in close contact and exchange text messages nearly every week — except this one, according to Vick. There’s not enough time during a shortened week. However, the quarterback intends to seek Reid out after the final whistle Thursday night in what should be one of the most photographed scenes of this young season.
“I’m definitely going to find some time to go shake his hand and say a couple words to him real quick,” Vick said.
Until then, both men are focused on football. Neither one wants to get caught up in the emotional aspect. The Eagles come in needing a bounce-back win, while the Chiefs look to improve to 3-0.
“I’ll never forget the opportunities that have been given to me by this organization, by Andy Reid,” Vick said, “but it’s not me against Andy Reid, it’s not us against Andy Reid … it’s the Philadelphia Eagles versus the Kansas City Chiefs.”