After learning the news Sunday that former player Garrett Reid had died, former Glendale Community College football Coach John Cicuto sent a text to the player's father, Andy Reid, to offer his immediate condolences.
Garrett Reid, the son of former Glendale college standout and current Philadelphia Eagles Coach Andy Reid, died Sunday at 29 in his Lehigh University dorm room. The younger Reid, who spent part of the 2003 season as an offensive tackle with the Vaqueros, had been working with the Eagles as an unofficial camp assistant to the team's strength and conditioning coach at the Eagles' training site at Lehigh in Bethlehem, Pa.
The cause of death has yet to be determined and an autopsy was expected to be completed this week. Garrett Reid was the oldest of five children.
Ed Shupp, Lehigh's chief of police, said Garrett Reid's body was found at 4:20 a.m. PDT by an Eagles official who called police to report that Reid was unconscious. Shupp said police arrived at the room about a minute later. Shupp ruled out suicide or foul play.
Andy Reid released a statement late Monday, expressing gratitude from well-wishers.
"On behalf of [my wife] Tammy and our family, I would like to thank everybody for their tremendous support, love, kind words and prayers during this time of great sadness. Words cannot express our sense of loss," the statement read.
"We loved Garrett so much. He was a wonderful son and brother. He made us laugh, he was a pleasure to be around, he always had a smile on his face, and we will miss him dearly. We will never forget him, and we will remember him with love."
Reid's death caught Cicuto's attention.
"I texted him Sunday night to tell him that our prayers are with him and his family," said Cicuto, who is now the men's athletic director at Glendale college and was an assistant and head coach of the Vaqueros from 1975-2007. "I didn't expect to hear from him for a while, but he texted me right back, saying, 'Thanks, coach.'
"Garrett was a very good player for us in the short time that we had him. I had talked to Andy [before the 2003 season at Glendale college] and he told me that Garrett was looking to go to a community college. I told him without question to bring him in. He played a few games for us and he suffered a knee injury during a practice early in the season.
"He was a very hard worker and kind of quiet. We were grateful to have him here. Had he not been injured, he would have made a big difference. He was probably our best player on the offensive line."
Andy Reid was an offensive lineman and kicker for the Vaqueros from 1976-77. He helped the Vaqueros capture the Western State Conference championship in 1977 before transferring to Brigham Young University. He was inducted into the Glendale Community College Athletic Hall of Fame in 2003 and has been Philadelphia's coach since 1999, leading the Eagles to an appearance in the 2004 Super Bowl.
Jim Sartoris, who served as Glendale college's head coach from 1972-88, recalled the younger Reid's ability to make himself a better player.
"In some ways, he was the leader on the team and he was mature," Sartoris said. "As the son of a head coach, he felt it was important to work hard and help out the team anyway possible.
"We had no problems with him and he demonstrated a great work ethic. I texted Andy my condolences, and I feel for him and his family. If there's anybody who will get through this, it's them."
Word of Reid's death sent shock waves throughout the team Sunday.
Philadelphia Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie spoke to the team prior to Sunday's practice session and then addressed the media.
"I've watched Andy try so hard with his family over the years," Lurie said during a press conference Sunday at Lehigh. "He cares so much about his family that it's a hard one. You see a man that really cares, and sometimes what happens happens in life, and, you know, as he and I discussed, it's like life throws you curveballs."
In place of Reid, offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg and defensive coordinator Juan Castillo will oversee all practices until Reid returns. Philadelphia will meet the host Pittsburgh Steelers in a preseason game Thursday.
While the cause of death remains to be determined, there has been speculation due to Garrett Reid's past indiscretions. In 2007, Reid was sentenced to nearly two years in prison following a high-speed car crash that injured another driver. Reid had heroin in his system and police found heroin and more than 200 pills in his car following the wreck.
"I know Garrett had some problems," Cicuto said. "It looked like he got back on the right track.
"I saw Andy a couple of years ago at his 50th birthday and he told me his kids were doing better. There's a great inner strength with Andy. It's an innate characteristic that the Good Lord gave him."
Funeral services were set to be held Tuesday in Broomall. Pa.