Story was first published on examiner.com on June 9, 2015.
I never thought I’d say this, but I miss Andy Reid.
Reid, the once long-tenured coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, is a man many Eagles fans, including myself, are happy is no longer the head coach of the birds after the marriage between the franchise and Reid came to a tumultuous ending in 2012.
To describe my emotion after his firing as jubilant, would be an understatement, but as OTAs are ongoing in preparations for the upcoming 2015-16 NFL season, I wish Reid was still at the reins.
The Eagles have used Lehigh University, in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, as their training camp headquarters since 1996. During Reid’s era, the relationship between the Eagles and Lehigh was strengthened as Reid had his team bunk in dorms to aid team bonding.
Many people in the Lehigh Valley area, including myself, flocked to training camp nearly every summer to see some of the NFL’s biggest stars, Donovan McNabb, Terrell Owens, Brian Dawkins. One could do that on the daily with open practices held nearly every day of the week.
I have memories of going with different members of my family, getting autographs, kicking field goals at the NFL fan experience zone and seeing NFL action up close and personal, for free.
However, when Reid left, so did Eagles’ training camp. Enter Chip Kelly and his sports science, micro-managing ways. The former Oregon Duck moved training camp to the Eagles’ facilities in South Philly and Lincoln Financial Field where he could control more of what is happening and not have the public at practices. Just two practices this upcoming camp will be open to the public, both at the Linc.
The move made sense for Kelly and it was becoming the norm for NFL franchises as the Eagles, at the time, became the 21st team to move training camp to its own facilities. However, it disgruntled many local fans, who loved seeing the Eagles in their backyard. It is hitting me even harder now that I can drive and would like to make the trip myself or with friends as all of my trips came were when I was younger.
As OTAs continue and we get closer to training camp and the anticipation for this season builds, with the Eagles practicing about 90 minutes away in the City of Brotherly Love, I’ll be at home watching highlights, reading stories, mulling tweets from writers saying, “I miss Andy Reid.”