Reid's Absence Won't Hurt Preparations

Life without Andy Reid isn't something the Eagles want to be thinking about, so it's a good thing that his absence is only temporary. Even without Reid around though the Eagles are conducting business as usual to prepare for the draft and free agency.

The Eagles don't think head coach Andy Reid's leave of absence will have any effect on the team's draft preparation or its free agency strategy.

Club president Joe Banner announced that Reid will take the next four weeks off as he deals with his two oldest sons' legal problems. Twenty-three-year-old Garrett Reid and his 21-year-old brother Britt have been charged with a variety of drug and gun offenses.

Garrett was involved in a traffic accident on January 30 in which he ran a red light and smashed into another car. He admitted to police that he was high on heroin at the time. Britt has been charged with pointing a gun at a driver during a road rage incident earlier that same day. Cocaine and other drugs were found in his vehicle.

Reid will miss the upcoming scouting combine in Indianapolis, as well as the first two or three weeks of the free agent signing period, which begins on March 2. But Banner doesn't think that will be a problem.

"Andy's main function at the combine is the interviewing of players," he said. "But a lot of that is done by assistant coaches and scouts. If there are players there that he would have otherwise interviewed, we will be able to make arrangements for him to interview them under other circumstances.

"There are a few specific things that he would actually physically do. But really, (general manager) Tom Heckert and the scouting staff do almost all of that. We're lucky in the sense that the timing that this is all taking place, is really the best it could be, in terms of everybody being able to step in and get everything done that we need."

With the exception of his absence at the combine, Reid will be working from home more than he will be taking a leave of absence. He will talk regularly with Banner, Heckert and his coaches and will be available to meet with visiting free agents.

"He will retain final say over whatever we do," Banner said.

With just a little more than $12 million in cap room, the Eagles aren't expected to be big players in free agency. Their biggest decisions will revolve around their own free agents-to-be, including quarterback Jeff Garcia and wide receiver Donte Stallworth. The Eagles plan to let both of them test the market.

Banner said Reid will return to work in mid-March and will attend the NFL owners meeting in Phoenix later in the month.

"I think anybody who knows Andy knows the importance and priority his family plays in his life, and what he needed to be able to do, what he needed to do," Banner said. "This, fortunately, made sense from a football calendar perspective, but really is a reflection of what the anticipated time requirement in the immediate future are for him."

Banner said there was no discussion at all between he and Reid and owner Jeff Lurie about Reid resigning, and he doesn't think the possibility ever crossed Reid's mind.

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