Andy Reid walked into the media room at the Kansas City Chiefs practice facility with a wide grin on his face and a distinct limp in his gait.
The long scar running down the front of his right knee looked like the aftermath of an earthquake fault line, a constant reminder of the two knee replacement surgeries he had on the same knee in 2015 and 2016. We hugged and caught up on sharing information about our families for a good five minutes. That's the Andy Reid I got to know away from the cameras: unguarded and open. Relaxed and willing to reveal information unknown to the general public.
Once the camera light went on, he became Coach Andy Reid again. He gave short answers, never taking praise himself, but always acknowledging players and coaches who've helped put him in positions through the years to be successful. He beamed about the pride and joy he felt when watching his protégé Doug Pederson hoist the Lombardi Trophy a few years ago and the city of Philadelphia finally celebrating.
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He showed no signs of frustration when I asked him if he thought it would take him 15 years to get back to a Super Bowl. Reid made comparisons in starting his head coaching career with a young Donovan McNabb to retooling with a young Patrick Mahomes. He deflected any questions of how much longer he wanted to coach if he won Super Bowl LIV, and if he felt he had Hall of Fame credentials.
Like many in this region, I am rooting hard for Big Red, not because I've gotten to know him personally over 21 years, but because he's paid his dues, and it's his time. Twenty-one years as a head coach (his 207 career regular season wins are sixth best all-time among NFL head coaches), 15 seasons of making playoff appearances, 14 playoff wins, seven conference championship appearances and now a second Super Bowl appearance. If the football gods have any mercy, Andy Reid will walk out of Hard Rock Stadium in Miami with the final piece to his Hall of Fame resume.
Once our on camera interview concluded, he once again became Andy Reid the regular guy. We talked about nothing of any importance to anyone except for us for a few more minutes. Then he gingerly got up and began to slowly limp towards the door heading to his next coaches meeting. But before he got away, as he always does, Reid had to get one final shot at me, "I see you're finally as gray and as bald as I am."
See above for part of my Gunn on One with Andy Reid.
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