SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — After Andy Reid steps off an NFL sideline for the final time, he’ll be in exceptionally rare company when he’s inducted into the rings of honor for two franchises.
As fate would have it, he’ll need to guide one of them past the other to earn his second Super Bowl ring as he looks to lead the Kansas City Chiefs to victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.
Reid racked up 130 wins with Philadelphia in his first 14 years as an NFL head coach before coming to Kansas City in 2013, and his fingerprints can still be found on his old squad’s roster.
“I had 14 great years there, I loved every minute of it. It’s a great organization, I still am close with the people there,” Reid said Tuesday.
“It was great to see the kids we had drafted that are now these veteran players, All-Pro players, on that team. (I) Had a chance to give them a hug last night, and now we go our separate ways and get ready to play.”
A trio of Eagles players drafted as far back as 2010 are still making major contributions for this season’s NFC champions: DE Brandon Graham (1st Round, 2010), C Jason Kelce (6th Round, 2011), DT Fletcher Cox (1st Round, 2012).
FOX4’s Harold Kuntz caught up with them at Super Bowl 57 Opening Night to see what they remember about Coach Reid’s time and impact in Philadelphia.
Like current Chiefs defensive lineman Frank Clark, Eagles D-lineman Cox praised Reid for being a father-like figure in addition to being a football coach.
“He means a lot to me. I’ll still text him out of the blue sometimes and ask him how he’s doing, it don’t have to be about football,” Cox said.
“He’s a guy that changed my life. He brought me into Philadelphia when I was a really young man, I was able to be with him for an entire year and soak in the information, leadership. What I really learned about him as a young a player is he’s a natural born leader.”
Travis Kelce’s brother Jason also touched on Reid’s leadership ability.
“He taught me how to be a professional. To be able to come into the NFL under a coach with that kind of experience and that kind of track record, it immediately tells you he knows what he’s doing. It immediately tells you that all you have to do is listen to this man,” Kelce said.
Graham said as a younger player during Reid’s Eagles tenure, he had to earn an audience with the head coach, and was happy when Reid finally won that first Super Bowl title.
“I had him as a young guy, so I really didn’t get to talk to him as much. Young guys, you don’t really get to talk to the head coach, especially old school coaches. You’ve gotta earn your right to be able to have conversations with him,” Graham said.
“I’m happy I was able to earn my right to have a conversation with him, we all enjoyed the moment of him winning the Super Bowl. It’s cool to be playing against him this time.”
All three of Reid’s former players were on the Eagles team that defeated the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 52, leaving everyone in search of that second title.
The game on Sunday marks Reid’s 19th playoff matchup as Kansas City’s head coach, the same number he appeared in as Philadelphia’s head coach, but in four less seasons than it took with the Eagles.