Andy Reid visits troops: "This is life and death"
July 8, 2010 (WPVI) -- Eagles head coach Andy Reid said it himself, "It isn't a game over there. This is life and death."
It was a 7-day trip that will forever change Andy Reid's perspective on the world and the game he has dedicated his life to.
Reid, along with fellow NFL coaches Brad Childress, Marvin Lewis, and John Fox, joined the USO to visit troops in Frankfurt, Germany and Afghanistan.
"When you're over there, the magnitude of it, these guys risking their lives so we can play on Sundays, do what you do, it's an amazing thing to watch," Reid told Action News.
The visit included a trip to an Afghan prison run by US Troops, a long flight back to Germany on a C-17 medical airlift plane that was evacuating injured soldiers, and multiple visits to the hospital at the Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan where Reid said they were bringing in newly injured soldiers as many as three or four times each day
"That's what's tough. We were actually in the O.R. in the hospital, saw the condition these guys came in with," Reid said. "I talked to a kid whose leg was cut off right below the knee and all he could talk about was getting back in there to fight."
It's that relentless desire to make the world a better place for us back home that humbled the coach. A man who has spent his lifetime working at a game that is so often compared to war, hearing the clichés about his players going to battle, metaphors that truly don't make sense anymore. But Reid was amazed by the fans he met and how the game of football does help them deal with the magnitude of it all.
"The response, that made it all worth it, just going over and talking to the people, I mean, listen, we were going from 7 in the morning to 11, 12 at night, just shaking hands and meeting people and that's the best part, because they appreciate it," Reid said.
Among the folks he met were Eagles fans in high places including the head mechanic for the F-16s, the pilots of his transport plane out of Frankfurt and they all had the same question.
"They were trying to talk me up about the Redskins game, wanted to know how we'll do against Donovan [McNabb], that whole situation," Reid said.
It was a light moment in what was a very serious journey.
Reid, speaking from the heart, has a message for all the soldiers he talked to.
"The whole NFL, people of America support you and care for you. That's their biggest fear, that we've forgotten about them a little bit," Reid said.
Andy Reid will never forget and will forever be grateful to the guys in green, giving the ultimate sacrifice.
philadelphia eagles, germany, afghanistan, andy reid, nfl, jamie apody
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