The Tragic Death Of Andy Reid's Son

On Feb. 7, 2021, the Kansas City Chiefs will face off against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the former team vies for a back-to-back Super Bowl win. However, for Chiefs coach Andy Reid, a second consecutive victory might be bittersweet, as his son Garrett Reid won't be there to see it.

Per USA Today, Reid's son Garrett "died from an accidental heroin overdose" on Aug. 5, 2012. At the time, the 29-year-old was staying at Lehigh University "where he had been assisting the Eagles strength and conditioning coach during training camp," per the outlet. He was discovered in his dorm room where "investigators found a used syringe, spoon and 19 vials of an unknown liquid substance in his room, along with many unused needles and syringes."

Garrett's struggles with substance abuse had previously been made public following a 2007 arrest. According to NBC Philadelphia, "[i]n 2007, Garrett admitted he was high on heroin when he crashed into another car." He ended up injuring the other driver. While Garrett was out on bail, he found himself under arrest once again after failing a drug test. Ultimately, Garrett was sentenced to 23 months in prison. After serving seven months, he was sent to a half-way house. In 2009, Garret was arrested once again for failing a drug test.

Andy Reid's son is never far from the coach's mind

Per Today, Andy Reid paid tribute to his son in 2020 after the Kansas City Chiefs defeated the San Francisco 49ers. After Reid lifted the Lombardi Trophy, his family joined him on the field for a long group hug. "You can't help but think of him. Absolutely," Reid said after the win (via The Philadelphia Inquirer). "I'm all right there. I think of the good things. I try to. Always the good things." Speaking about how the Super Bowl win was "great" for his family, Reid said, "It's a positive. With the loss of Garrett, he was there for us, with us."

Wife Tammy Reid told the The Philadelphia Inquirer that she was wearing a sapphire-encrusted ring in honor of Garrett. The other Reid children had each gifted her a ring when they got married, and they eventually decided to buy her one on behalf of Garrett, as well. Tammy also said it was "amazing" that their whole family could be there for her husband's victory. "Except for 'G'," she added. "So sad, but I know he's watching us."

Garrett Reid struggled with addiction for years

Garrett was the oldest of Andy Reid's five children. He was born in 1983, and attended Harriton High in Rosemont, Pa. As The New York Times reported, he and his brother Britt both played football in high school and would sometimes accompany Andy, an assistant coach at the time, on his scouting trips. Their father also used to secretly watch their games from inside his car to avoid attracting attention.

After his 2007 arrest, Garrett wrote a heartfelt statement about addiction for his hearing. According to ESPN, he admitted that he had first tried hard drugs as a teenager and that he began dealing to teenagers and parents in his neighborhood by age 20.

"I did get a thrill out of it," Garrett confessed. "That was also part of the whole new world that opened up to me when I smoked that first joint." He added that he liked being a drug dealer because he could "go anywhere in the 'hood" and everyone knew who he was.

Garrett also stressed how much he wanted to get clean, however, and agreed to go through a drug treatment program, per ESPN. In a retroactively tragic conclusion, Garrett said in court that he did not 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."

Andy Reid's legacy could be secured with a second championship

Andy Reid's legacy as a great football coach was secured at last year's Super Bowl, but he has been working towards that victory for years. During his time with the Kansas City Chiefs and his previous tenure with the Philadelphia Eagles, whom he left in 2012, Reid has earned 238 combined victories in the regular season and playoffs, according to the Washington Post, which means he ranks fifth on the all-time NFL list.

As CBS Sports pointed out, working with star quarterback Patrick Mahomes could earn him even more accolades. According to Mahomes, the pair have a great working relationship: Reid was a "key factor" in the quarterback signing his record-setting $500 million contract with the Chiefs in 2020 since the coach assured Mahomes he was not retiring in the near future.

"He told me he's not trying to leave anytime soon! He's all in," Mahomes told CBS Sports, adding that Reid loves "everything" about the game. "The family atmosphere that he has with everybody is special. You see the amount of plays he draws up on a daily basis and he's showing me — you know his fire is still burning bright and he's not trying to dim out any time soon." And we're sure his late son Garrett would be proud of all he has accomplished.

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse and mental health, please contact SAMHSA's 24-hour National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).