President Mike Holmgren and several other members of the Cleveland Browns organization were in Philadelphia on Tuesday morning for the funeral services of Garrett Reid, the eldest son of Eagles coach Andy Reid.
Garrett Reid, 29, died Sunday morning in the Eagles’ dormitory at Lehigh University. The Eagles hold their training camp practices at Lehigh. Garrett Reid was working with the team’s strength coaches during training camp.
“My heart and my wife Kathy, our hearts go out to the family,” Holmgren told the media following the service. “We’ve been very close. My daughter babysat for all his kids at one time or another and I’m just happy I could be here for him.
“I didn’t talk to him for a long time, but we shared some very intimate thoughts and our prayers are with he and the family.”
Reid started his NFL coaching career with Holmgren and the Green Bay Packers. Reid mentored the team’s tight ends and served as the assistant offensive line coach from 1992-96 and later, the quarterbacks coach from 1997-98 before he took over as head coach of the Eagles prior to the 1999 season.
Reid’s relationship with Holmgren predated their time together in Green Bay.
“Andy was the first guy I ever hired when I became a head coach and we go back to when he was my GA (graduate assistant) when I was coaching at BYU and we’ve been close, close friends ever since,” Holmgren said. “I always say he’s the son I never had. I have four daughters.”
Reid was one of nine former Holmgren assistants who later became head coaches in the NFL. He has the most wins, 126, and best winning percentage, .608, of those nine men and was one of two -- Jon Gruden was the other -- to lead a team to the Super Bowl.
While Reid got his NFL start under Holmgren, he gave Browns coach Pat Shurmur his first opportunity to coach in the professional ranks in 1999.
Shurmur coached the tight ends and offensive line from 1999-2001. Shurmur later mentored the quarterbacks from 2002-08 before he left Philadelphia and became the offensive coordinator with the St. Louis Rams.
General manager Tom Heckert served in the same capacity in Philadelphia. Prior to becoming the Eagles’ general manager, Heckert worked as the team’s director of player personnel, as well as vice president of player personnel. Offensive coordinator Brad Childress, defensive coordinator Dick Jauron and quarterbacks coach Mark Whipple also spent time in the Eagles organization in various positions on the coaching staff.
“I’m happy we have a contingent that came from the Cleveland Browns,” Holmgren said, “and obviously, there’s a lot of people over there that are very close to Andy and Tammy and worked for the Eagles for a long time.”