Originally posted on Philly Sports World  |  Last updated 8/9/12

You always knew that Andy Reid would be back quickly. That he was back within 24 hours of burying his oldest son may have been a bit shocking, but Andy Reid is a rock. He’s been described that way by many over the last few days.

Andy Reid looked the same as he always does, but you got a sense in listening to his words that he has been changed forever. How could he not be? You don’t lose a child and remain unphased.

Reid expressed his gratitude for the overwhelming amount of love and support he and his family have gotten from the media, the Eagles family and his NFL family. I can’t help but think that the biggest show of support Andy Reid will get will be from 68,000 fans tonight at Lincoln Financial Field when his Eagles take on the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1st game of the NFL preseason.

For once, it will not be about football tomorrow night. It will be about human beings connecting with a man who has been a part of the landscape in Philadelphia for 14 years. It will be people holding up, supporting and appreciating a man, a father, who has been through something no one should ever go through – burying a child. You see, Andy Reid is one of the family here in Philadelphia.

Whether you agree with Reid’s coaching decisions or football sense doesn’t matter. The terseness and secrecy we have seen from him over the years doesn’t matter either. Personnel decisions, bad time outs, questionable play calling. None of it is important. If one thing has been gleaned from this awful tragedy, it’s that Andy Reid is a man. A man who is beloved by his family, his players and coaches, and an entire organization, not to mention numerous other people throughout the NFL. It turns out that Andy Reid is a pretty likable man with impeccable values and empathy, whether we get to see that side of him or not.

I sometimes wish we could get to see that side of him more often. When he shows it, it’s hard to dislike him.

Just like any family, there have been bumps in the road and some disagreements along the way. Criticisms and things that have been said along the way are not so much said because family doesn’t care for one of its own, it’s usually because they care so much.

That’s how it is with Eagles fans. We all care. More than is sometimes logical. My criticisms of Reid have usually been born from passion for the team. In the end, we all want the same thing. We want Andy Reid to be successful. For me, now maybe more than ever.

In life, there are good guys and bad guys. I’m still just naive enough to pull for the good guys. And Andy Reid is definitely a good man. Like any family, Philadelphia pulls together and protects our own. Andy is one of us, and tonight he’ll feel the family’s love.

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