The Philadelphia Eagles knew long ago that this was a potentially make or break year for Andy Reid. Eagles fans like myself kept reminding them over and over, after 14 years of no Super Bowl championships. Yet all of that got pushed aside when Reid's son Garrett, was found dead weeks ago. For once, the city completely came together for Reid and his family, and forgot about how another bad year could end his tenure in Philadelphia.
However, the grace period now seems to be over for Reid - yet it wasn't the fans who put an end to it. It was owner Jeffrey Lurie who did so on Aug. 30, as he announced that "substantial improvement" from last year's 8-8 campaign was needed for Reid to stay beyond 2012.
Such a reminder was startling from Lurie, although the actual content wasn't. It was a given that another disappointing season might get Reid fired - yet given Reid's increased control of the front office, there might have been wiggle room for him. But if Lurie is telling the truth, there will be no wiggle room if Philadelphia misses the playoffs again.
If Lurie had said this over a month ago, it would have been hard to bat an eye, since he would be saying something we already knew. But to say it so close to the start of the season - and so soon after Garrett died - makes it more questionable. He did state that these would be his last comments on the matter until the season ended, so that Reid's job status wouldn't be brought up during the year. But of course, that will be even more impossible to do after these comments - especially if the Eagles start off rough.
Even if the Eagles match their perfect preseason with a perfect start, it appears there won't be a knee-jerk reaction to resign Reid in midseason. Waiting until the end to see how it all turns out is the wise move, especially since Philadelphia doesn't tend to end a year on a high note. But although the matter is closed for Lurie until January/February 2013, it is no way close to being closed in the rest of Philadelphia.
Us fans knew that we would debate Reid's fate all season, and likely call for his exit during the next Eagles slump. However, we were willing to put that off for a while after his personal tragedy - and after the team did so well in August even without Vick. Yet now that Lurie has put an end to Reid's grace period, it seems it really is back to business as usual for the Eagles - with Reid back on the barnburner and all.
Robert Dougherty is a life-long Philadelphia resident who has followed the Eagles since he was eight years old.
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- Sports & Recreation
- Jeffrey Lurie
- Andy Reid