Garrett Reid was Andy Reid’s oldest son. On August 5, 2012, Garrett Reid was found dead in a dorm room at Lehigh University, where he had been assisting the Eagles strength coaches in an unofficial capacity. A coroner later confirmed that his death was the result of a heroin overdose, per USA Today.
Then, in December of that year, authorities revealed that there had been steroids in Garrett’s room as well at the time of his death, ESPN reported, though there was no indication that Garrett had been giving them to players.
Eagles Chairman Jeffrey Lucie gave a statement following that news, and said that none of the players or coaches were aware of the steroids in Garrett’s room.
Via ESPN, Lucie said in a statement, “While we remained saddened by the tragic end of a young man’s life and know how hard this must be for the entire Reid family, we are extremely confident that Garrett’s actions were unknown to those around him and did not involve our football team.”
In addition to his parents, Garrett’s family included his siblings Spencer, Britt, Cosby and Drew Ann. Britt is now a defensive line coach for the Kansas City Chiefs, working beneath his father.
Here’s what you need to know about him:
1. Garrett Reid Was Andy & Tammy’s Oldest Son
Garrett Reid was the oldest child of the Reid family clan. He was born 1983, a year after Andy and Tammy were married.
According to The New York Times, Garrett and his brother, Britt, grew up playing football at Harriton High in Rosemont, Pennsylvania, and Reid would often watch their games from inside of his car, so as to avoid drawing too much attention. Garrett and Britt would also sometimes go with their father on scouting trips, and serve as ball boys during training camps. During their childhood, Reid was not yet a head coach, but an assistant coach at six different places.
The New York Times reports that Reid always prioritized spending time with his children when they were young, and that sometimes he would rush home after a predawn film session to make sure he was there to have breakfast with them.
2. Garrett Spend Time in Prison in 2007 for a Drug-Related Offense
In 2007, Garrett was sentenced to up to 23 months in prison as well as probation for a drug-related offense, in which he got into a car accident and smashed the window of another person’s car while he was high on heroin. At the scene of the accident, ESPN reports that authorities found syringes with heroin and testosterone in Garrett’s car.
Garrett was sentenced to jail within a week of his brother, Britt, who was also sentenced to jail for a drug-related offense. The judge of both mens’ sentencing referenced the Reid home as a “drug emporium,” according to ESPN, after a search of the residence revealed illegal and prescription drugs throughout the house.
Both Garrett and his brother Britt were living at home at the time of their subsequent arrests. ESPN reported that 89 prescription pills were found in Garrett’s jail cell on the morning of his arraignment; he had spent the night in jail and authorities believed he had smuggled the pills in via his rectum.
3. To a Judge in 2007, Garrett Explained His History with Addiction
During his hearing in 2007, Garrett gave insight into his experience of addiction, as well as his experience being the son of a high-profile individual and dealing with addiction.
Via a statement that he wrote to the judge which was then read aloud, via ESPN, Garrett explained that he had quickly gotten involved with hard drugs as a teenager. By 20 years old, he had gone to rehab for the first time, and had also begun selling his drugs to other teens and parents in his neighborhood.
Garrett said, “I did get a thrill out of it. That was also part of the whole new world that opened up to me when I smoked that first joint.”
He added, “I liked being the rich kid in that area and having my own high-status life. I could go anywhere in the ‘hood. They all knew who I was. I enjoyed it. I liked being a drug dealer.”
However, Reid also expressed his desire to get clean, ESPN reports, and he agreed to apply to a drug treatment program following his time served. He said in court, “I don’t want to be that kid who was the son of the head coach of the Eagles, who was spoiled and on drugs and OD’d and just faded into oblivion.”
4. Tammy Explained Her Approach to Being a Mother of an Addicted Child to Philly Magazine
In an expansive interview with Philly Magazine in 2007, following the sentencing of two of their sons to prison, Andy and Tammy Reid sat down to talk about their experiences being parents of drug-addicted children.
Tammy said, “You don’t know that they’ve lied to you, they sneak around, they embellish — they lead a perfectly normal life most of the time, and you have no idea anything is going on until you find it, or something happens to make you think, oh my gosh, why didn’t I see this? Everybody who’s been through it says this. You don’t know.”
Andy pointed out that there was no one way to raise or save a child, saying, “There’s no right or wrong, because everything has worked for somebody along the way, and then nothing has worked for somebody along the way. It’s a different dynamic. Initially, you try to help. And you might try to help a second time. Then everybody is a little bit different after that. Some go with tough love. We followed that advice. We went that route with Garrett. He had just finished the second rehab and moved to Arizona.”
Tammy then said that she would also work to help her children. She said,
“You’re thinking, let’s try one more time. Because that’s what you do as a parent. You think, okay, it didn’t work the last couple of times, but there’s still hope. 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. And that’s the one great thing from all the letters we’ve gotten, they all say, stay with them, always tell them you love them, show them you love them, do what you can, but know that they’ve got to do it themselves. Are we going to be there for them all the time? Yes, no matter what happens.”
5. Following Garrett’s Death, Tammy Gave No Public Comment & Andy Thanked the Community for Their Support
Garrett died in 2012 of a heroin overdose in August.
Though Tammy didn’t give a public comment on the matter, Andy did attend a presser on August 8 (as seen in the video above), saying that he was “humbled” by the support the family had received in such a tragic time.
Following the announcement of his death, then-Eagles quarterback Michael Vick said in a statement via USA Today, “This is a very difficult situation for us all to deal with. Our thoughts and prayers and condolences go out to coach Reid, Tammy and his entire family. Coach has always been a rock for us. We’re going to lean on him, be there for him and stay strong for him until he can come back to lead us on.”