The oldest son of Philadelphia Eagles head coach Andy Reid abused painkillers and struggled with drug addiction for nearly decade.
Garrett Reid, 29, was found dead Sunday morning in his dorm room at the Eagles training camp at Lehigh University. The cause of death is still undetermined, although police say there was no sign of foul play or suicide.
“Garrett’s road through life was not always an easy one. He faced tremendous personal challenges with bravery and spirit. As a family, we stood by him and were inspired as he worked to overcome those challenges. Even though he lost the battle that has been ongoing for the last eight years, we will always remember him as a fighter who had a huge, loving heart,” Andy Reid said in a statement.
Reid was working at the training camp, helping the Eagles strength and conditioning coaches, and appeared to have turned his life around after years spent bouncing between prison cells and rehab.
Garrett’s struggle with drugs and addiction began soon after high school, when he started using marijuana and alcohol. That was followed by prescription painkillers OxyContin and Percocet, and then cocaine and heroin, according to an ESPN report.
Garrett had easy access to prescription drugs. His younger brother Britt was also using painkillers at the time, at first to treat to a high school football injury, and later to get high.
Both brothers soon turned into dealers, selling drugs to their friends and their friends’ parents. Garrett admitted he got a special thrill from selling drugs in tough neighborhoods.
By 2007, their lives had spiraled out of control. Garrett crashed his car into another motorist while high on heroin. A few hours later, Britt was arrested for illegal drug possession after flashing a gun at another driver. The Reids were a family in crisis.
“It sounds more or less like a drug emporium there, with the drugs all over the house, and you’re an addict,” a judge told Britt, noting that searches of the Reid home had turned up illegal and prescription drugs throughout the house. He would sentence both brothers to jail for 23 months.
While out on bail, Garrett failed a drug test. When sent back to prison, he was caught smuggling 89 pills hidden in his rectum.
By 2010, both brothers had checked out of prison and halfway houses, and were living clean lives, according to a Philly.com report.
“Garrett will be long remembered for his sense of humor, his bold laughter and zest for life. Through his most difficult times his biggest strength was the love and support he received from his family and they from him. He will be truly missed,” the Reid family said in an obituary.
Services for Reid will be held Tuesday. In lieu of flowers, the family asked that donations be sent to a halfway house for troubled teens.