Andy Reid and his wife know well the problems facing parents of children with addictions. The Philadelphia Eagles coach even spent six weeks in counseling with his oldest son, and now the usually guarded Reids are sharing their story.
The Reids broke their almost yearlong silence about their sons' problems and vowed their support in an interview with Philadelphia Magazine for its January edition. They said the motivation to give the interview was the hope of helping others, which grew out of the favorable reaction and overwhelming support they've received.
Andy Reid wants parents facing the same problems to know one thing: "They're not the only ones. That this happens everywhere."
In an advance copy of the interview provided to The Associated Press, the Eagles coach disclosed he spent six weeks with his oldest son, Garrett, in counseling in Florida.
"I went to all the counseling sessions with him, the whole rehab program with him," Reid told the magazine. "They educate you. It was like learning Spanish in six weeks, without knowing a word of it."
Reid said he learned that, because of the chemical makeup of the brain, certain people are more susceptible to drug use and addiction than others.
"It's an epidemic that has attacked America," he said. "I was sitting there, in counseling, with good people. They are not bad people, it encompasses everybody."
And that is the point the Reids want to get across: that others dealing with the same troubles are not alone.
"It was a way to share our story with others," Reid said Friday. "We've had tremendous support through this whole event. It was a way to reach out to those who are going through similar situations.
"It was an opportunity to do this while the players were still in town and let them have an opportunity to, likewise, to read about it so there would be no gray areas as they left town."
Larry Platt, editor of Philadelphia Magazine, sent a letter to the Reids during the summer offering the magazine as a platform for the coach and his wife to tell their story. A few months later, they agreed.
"It's very moving. Anyone who has kids, I challenge them not to get choked up reading their story as parents," Platt said "You really come to admire the way they are fighting through it."
The Reids have faced plenty of criticism, from Eagles fans questioning whether the coach should step down, or be removed, to the judge who sentenced the two Reid boys to jail and likened the coach's home to "a drug emporium."
Reid acknowledged he was "sad" and "disappointed," but said it all comes with the territory.
"We've accepted public criticism as a family even when it's not true," the coach said in the interview.
Reid said he plans to remain with the Eagles as long as he can do the job, and as long as owner Jeffrey Lurie will have him.
Tammy Reid questioned whether her husband's job status should be an issue.
"(Plus) we do have house payments, he does need to have a job," she said. "Any other dad, any other man who has things going on in his family, has not had it questioned whether he's going to retire or step down from his job. The CEO of any major company, it would never be in question."
Reid said he chose to give the interview to Philadelphia Magazine rather than the general media to reach a large number of people.
"I felt that was the only way to reach everybody in one shot," the coach said. "I think this does that."
Reid encouraged everyone to read the interview, saying "it's all explained in that."
Both Garrett and Britt Reid have battled drug addiction and been sentenced to jail terms stemming from Britt's road-rage case and Garrett's heroin-fueled, high-speed crash in January.
"We've dealt with Garrett's situation for a long time, and we've done it through Super Bowls and championships," Andy Reid told the magazine. "And it's new to a lot of people, but it's not new to us."
Tammy Reid said, "We raised these boys. We taught them to pray, taught them to ride their bikes &
you see this potential in him, and you're just not going to give up."
The Reids revealed a difficult six-month separation with Garrett in 2006, when their oldest son was living in his car in Arizona.
Tammy Reid told the magazine Garrett said in a phone call he wished he'd never done drugs and could come home and start over.
"You're thinking, let's try one more time," she said. "Because that's what you do as a parent. You think, OK, it didn't work the last couple of times, but there's still hope."
Garrett Reid was sentenced last month to two to 23 months in jail for a high-speed crash in which another driver was injured. Police said they found heroin, steroids and more than 200 pills in his car and he admitted using heroin on the day of the crash. Garrett Reid was later charged with five additional drug counts related to 89 pills authorities said he had smuggled into prison.
Britt Reid was sentenced last month to eight to 23 months in jail for pointing a gun at another driver on Jan. 30. He also pleaded guilty to charges including carrying a firearm without a license.
The magazine hits the newsstand on Wednesday.
Reids break silence, talk about sons, drugs