Philadelphia, PA – When the post-mortem is finally performed on the Andy Reid era in Philadelphia, you'll be able to trace his demise back to Jan. 30, 2007.
That's the day Garrett Reid, high on heroin, raced through a stop light in suburban Philadelphia, crashing into another car and seriously injuring the driver. Reid admitted to police at the scene he had used heroin and they also found drugs and paraphernalia in his Jeep.
On the same day, Garrett younger brother, Britt, got into a road-rage argument and pointed a handgun at a driver. After arriving at the scene of his sibling's crash, police questioned Britt about the earlier incident and eventually commandeered his vehicle before finding drugs and a shotgun in it.
The box score read a Remington shotgun, a magazine containing twelve 45 caliber bullets, two boxes of shotgun shells, eight OxyContin pills, cocaine and pot in an SUV registered to Andy and his wife Tammy for Britt. Meanwhile, Garrett was high on heroin, had pills, a BB gun, and a scale commonly used for dealing drugs in his SUV.
Garrett Reid was eventually charged with 14 misdemeanors, including assault and driving under the influence of a controlled substance while his younger brother faced a litany of gun and drug offenses.
By Feb. 12 coach Reid announced he would be taking a leave of absence from the Eagles to deal with "family matters."
In November, smack dab in middle of the Birds' season, Montgomery County, Pa. Court Judge Steven T. O'Neill sentenced Garrett to two to 23 months in jail, and Britt to eight to 23 months.
Garrett Reid told the judge he had been struggling with drugs since the age of 18, and offered, "I'm at the point in my life where I have already made the decision that I don't want to die doing drugs."
O'Neill, probably overstepping his bounds, responded by calling the Reid residence a "drug emporium" and said the family was "in crisis."
Bret Easton Ellis couldn't have penned a more compelling work on privilege gone wrong and he certainly couldn't have foreshadowed the future any defter.
Later Garrett Reid was charged with attempting to smuggle 89 prescription pills into the Montgomery County jail and was eventually sent to Graterford Prison after he tested positive again after returning from an approved furlough.
In the ensuing months, Andy Reid lost some power in the Eagles' organization, although slowly gained it back, winning or at least surviving a power struggle with former team president Joe Banner. His often consistent and prudent decision-making, however, turned south and never returned.
Things turned tragic this past August when Garrett Reid's addiction finally caught up to him at age 29 in a dorm room at Eagles' training camp.
In an effort to keep his son close, Garrett was brought on as a volunteer strength and conditioning coach with the Eagles. Just another disastrous decision by his father.
Vials of steroids and enough syringes to raise serious concerns about whether he was providing performance-enhancers to others were found in Garret's room, a fact rumored for months but finally confirmed on Monday.
"As you all know, my son Garrett battled addiction for many years," Andy Reid said. "While there were some victories along the way, it ultimately was a battle that he lost and that cost him his life. Our family feels the pain of that loss every day.
"Today's report saddens me greatly, but only confirms the troubles Garrett encountered in the final years of his life. As parents, we were encouraged by his apparent progress but, like many addicts, he was able to conceal the signs of relapse."
Fair enough but what about the decision to let a known addict and drug dealer, who just happens to be into weightlifting, around players in a game which is constantly trying to keep performance-enhancers at arm's length?
"I am confident that my son's decisions did not affect our football team in any way," the coach said.
I'm not and neither is Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie, who is finally starting to realize he has given Andy Reid far too much rope over the years.
"The news today on Garrett Reid's possession of steroids is disappointing," Lurie said. "It's clear the conduct in which he apparently engaged runs counter to the values and principles mandated for everyone associated with our organization."
To be fair Andy's son was in possession of things like Testosterone-Propionate and Boldenone Undecylenate, steroids Lyle Alzado may have used in the 1970s, not today's high-tech performance enhancers which seemingly always leave the testers a step behind the users.
That doesn't mean the NFL won't have a bull's-eye on the Birds' operation now, something Lurie has already tried to get in front of.
"We have spoken with the league office and have pledged our full cooperation with their requests should there be any," Lurie said. "While we remained saddened by the tragic end of a young man's life and know how hard this must be for the entire Reid family, we are extremely confident that Garrett's actions were unknown to those around him and did not involve our football team."
"The NFL has a rigorous drug testing program for its players," Lurie continued. "It is a matter of record that none of our players has tested positive for any of the steroids mentioned in the district attorney's report."
Andy Reid has two games left in his 14-year Philadelphia tenure, one which should have been lauded. Instead he's left enduring stains both on and off the football field, and his final days will be spent apologizing to the league, his team and its fan base.
Time's yours Andy.
"I cannot apologize enough for any adverse appearances that my son's actions may have for an organization and a community that has been nothing but supportive of our family," a contrite Reid offered.
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THE GAMES (All Times Eastern)
Atlanta (12-2) at Detroit (4-10), Saturday, 8:30 p.m.
LINE: Falcons By 4
THE SKINNY: The 12-2 Falcons can clinch home-field advantage in the NFC playoffs with win while Detroit receiver Calvin Johnson resumes his pursuit of Jerry's Rice single-season record for receiving yards. "Megatron" has 1,667 yards receiving this season, putting Rice's record of 1,848 yards well within reach with two games to go.
PREDICTION: Falcons 28, Lions 20
Minnesota (8-6) at Houston (12-2), Sunday, 1 p.m.
LINE: Texans by 7 1/2
THE SKINNY: The Texans, who have already clinched the AFC South, can secure home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs with a win against a Vikings team still in the middle of the NFC playoff picture with an 8-6 record.
The Texans have won seven of their past eight games, including last week's 29-17 win over Indianapolis to clinch the AFC South. Defensive Player of the Year candidate J.J. Watt had three sacks against the Colts and is tied for the NFL lead with San Francisco's Aldon Smith with 19 1/2, just three shy of Michael Strahan's single-season record of 22 1/2 in 2001.
Minnesota, meanwhile, has a serious MVP candidate in running back Adrian Peterson, who tops the NFL with 1,812 rushing yards. Peterson, who has rushed for 100 yards in a franchise-record eight consecutive games, has 1,313 yards during that span, the most by a player in NFL history over any eight-game stretch. Last week, he rushed for 212 yards and a touchdown in the Vikings' 36-22 win at St. Louis. With two games to go, Peterson needs 294 yards to break Eric Dickerson's single-season rushing record of 2,105 set in 1984.
"The record would be great, but the most important thing is to get a win in Houston," Said Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier. "The fact that Adrian feels that way will permeate through the rest of the team. He wants to really concentrate on winning this game more so than the record. Our players are pulling for him without question, but I think every one of our guys knows the importance of winning this game."
PREDICTION: Texans 27, Vikings 17
Cincinnati (8-6) at Pittsburgh (8-6), Sunday, 1 p.m.
LINE: Steelers by 4
THE SKINNY: Both the Bengals and Steelers are vying for a playoff spot and are also still alive in the AFC North division race behind 9-5 Baltimore. Cincinnati has won five of six overall and at 8-6 can secure a playoff spot with a win while the Steelers will have to win out.
"We have a lot of leadership and a lot of veteran guys who have been in this situation before," said Pittsburgh wide receiver Mike Wallace. "I know we'll be fine. I know we have the guys to do it. I know exactly how guys are going to come to prepare this week. My teammates, I know these guys. We've been through a lot. It's just going to make it even sweeter when we make this run."
PREDICTION: Steelers 21, Bengals 17
Oakland (4-10) at Carolina (5-9), Sunday, 1 p.m.
LINE: Panthers by 8 1/2
THE SKINNY: It hasn't been a great year for Carolina or Cam Newton but the second-year signal-caller has picked it up recently, passing for 10 touchdowns and no interceptions with a 109.8 passer rating in his past five games. Newton also currently has 152 passing attempts without an INT, the longest current streak in NFL. For Oakland, QB Carson Palmer needs just 13 passing yards to join Rich Gannon as the only QBs in Raiders history to reach 4,000 in a single-season.
PREDICTION: Panthers 27, Raiders 14
New Orleans (6-8) at Dallas (8-6), Sunday, 1 p.m.
LINE: Cowboys by 3
THE SKINNY: Dallas controls its own destiny as far as the NFC East title goes as long as they beat the Saints and finish the season with a win at Washington. New Orleans, meanwhile, still has faint postseason hopes, which will likely be dashed whether they win or lose this weekend.
PREDICTION: Saints 24, Cowboys 23
Tennessee (5-9) at Green Bay (10-4), Sunday, 1 p.m.
LINE: Packers by 13
THE SKINNY: Fresh off clinching their second straight NFC North crown, the Packers continue their pursuit for a first round bye against the Titans. Green Bay star quarterback Aaron Rodgers has won 24 of his past 26 starts at Lambeau Field and has 64 TDs versus just 17 INTs and a 110.0 rating in those games. Tennessee, however, has won three straight over the Pack.
PREDICTION: Packers 30, Titans 10
New England (10-4) at Jacksonville (2-12), Sunday, 1 p.m.
LINE: Patriots by 14 1/2
THE SKINNY: Cover your head if you're the Jags. The high-powered Patriots have never lost a regular season game against Jacksonville and are coming off an uncharacteristic home December loss to San Francisco. New England QB Tom Brady is 3-0 with seven TDs and no picks during his career against the Jaguars. The 2-12 Jags counter with Chad Henne, who passed for a career-best 416 yards in last game against the Pats.
PREDICTION: Patriots 34. Jaguars 10
Indianapolis (9-5) at Kansas City Chiefs (2-12), Sunday, 1 p.m.
LINE: Colts by 6 1/2
THE SKINNY: Dreams of a late run at the AFC South title were dashed in Houston last week but the Colts can rebound and clinch a postseason berth with a win against 2-12 Kansas City. The Colts can also become just the fourth team in NFL history to win 10 or more games following a season in which they won two or fewer. The key to that turnaround has been rookie QB Andrew Luck, who needs just 74 passing yards to surpass Cam Newton (4,051) for most by a rookie in NFL history.
PREDICTION: Colts 24, Chiefs 14
Buffalo (5-9) at Miami (6-8), Sunday, 1 p.m.
LINE: Dolphins by 4 1/2
THE SKINNY: Dolphins rookie QB Ryan Tannehill hopes to build on a career-best 123.2 passer rating in a win over the Jags last week, while Buffalo saw dynamic running back C.J. Spiller, who averages an NFL-best 6.5 yards per carry, pass 1,000 rushing yards for the first time in his career in a loss versus the Seahawks.
PREDICTION: Dolphins 20, Bills 17
San Diego (5-9) at NY Jets (6-8), Sunday, 1 p.m.
LINE: Jets by 2 1/2
THE SKINNY: The Jets will have a new starting quarterback for Sunday's game and it won't be Tim Tebow. The team announced on Tuesday that second-year pro Greg McElroy will get the nod against the Chargers in place of the struggling Mark Sanchez, who committed five turnovers in Monday's 14-10 loss at Tennessee, a setback which officially eliminated New York from playoff contention. San Diego, meanwhile, is likely watching the death throws of the Norv Turner regime.
PREDICTION: Chargers 17, Jets 10
Washington (8-6) at Philadelphia (4-10), Sunday, 1 p.m.
LINE: Redskins by 5 1/2
THE SKINNY: All eyes will be on dynamic Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III this week as playoff-hopeful Washington gets ready to visit Philadelphia. Griffin suffered a Grade I sprain of the lateral collateral ligament in his right knee in a win over Baltimore two weeks ago and backup quarterback Kirk Cousins, also a rookie, came through in a big way against Cleveland last Sunday. The 'Skins, who are in a three-way tie with Dallas and the New York Giants in the NFC East, control their own destiny for the division crown. The Eagles could get a lift with the return of tight end Brent Celek as well as the possible return of Shady McCoy from concussions.
PREDICTION: Redskins 23, Eagles 20
St. Louis (6-7-1) at Tampa Bay (6-8), Sunday, 1 p.m.
LINE: Bucs by 3
THE SKINNY: The Buccaneers were shut out for the first time since 2009 last Sunday, getting drubbed in New Orleans 41-0. The Rams, meanwhile, were victimized by Adrian Peterson last week but Sam Bradford was able to throw for a career-high 377 yards and matched a career-best with 3 TDs against the Vikings.
PREDICTION: Bucs 27, Rams 21
Cleveland (5-9) at Denver (11-3), Sunday, 4:05 p.m.
LINE: Broncos by 13
THE SKINNY: The Broncos have won an NFL-best nine straight and have also won nine consecutive against the Browns. Denver can also clinch a first round bye this week with a win coupled with a Patriots loss at Jacksonville. MVP candidate Peyton Manning has thrown 16 TDs versus two interception with a 109.0 passer rating at home this season.
PREDICTION: Broncos 33, Browns 17
Chicago (8-6) at Arizona (5-9), Sunday, 4:25 p.m.
LINE: Bears by 5 1/2
THE SKINNY: After starting the season 7-1 the Bears have won just one of their past six and face a must-win situation against an Arizona team which snapped an ugly nine-game skid against Detroit last Sunday behind Beanie Wells' three rushing TDs.
PREDICTION: Bears 17, Cardinals 16
NY Giants (8-6) at Baltimore (9-5), Sunday, 4:25 p.m.
LINE: Giants by 2 1/2
THE SKINNY: The Ravens are already in the postseason and the Giants hope to join them. Baltimore has lost three in a row after a 9-2 start, but the Ravens clinched a playoff spot last week and can win the AFC North with a victory this week. The defending Super Bowl champions will assure themselves a postseason spot with wins in their final two games.
"If we win two games, we're going to be in the playoffs," says Giants head coach Tom Coughlin. "That's what we have to focus on. Our team knows the circumstances very well. It is a playoff situation for us. We now have to win to have the opportunity to go to the playoffs. We've responded to that in the past. We're going to have to respond to that again."
PREDICTION: Giants 24, Ravens 17
San Francisco (10-3-1) at Seattle (9-5), Sunday, 8:20 p.m.
LINE: Pick 'Em
THE SKINNY: The top two teams in the NFC West will be in the spotlight on Sunday night when the Seahawks host the 49ers to close out Week 16. San Francisco has already clinched a playoff berth and can secure the division for the second consecutive season with a win. Seattle, who has not lost at home this season, enters with a 9-5 record and can still catch the Niners in the NFC West.
"The sky's the limit for this team," said Seattle Quarterback Russell Wilson. "You have to play one game at a time. We're doing that right now and guys are making tremendous plays out there. I'm blessed to be a Seahawk so it's a pretty great situation for me."
PREDICTION: Seahawks 24, 49ers 20