It doesn’t take a degree in psychology to help figure out the bond between Eagles coach Andy Reid and quarterback Michael Vick.
Reid was a father with a troubled son who wanted to make it right for someone. Vick was the troubled kid looking for some guidance. But the two have grown much closer than imagined in three years, to the point they’re almost family themselves.
“I can say that while coach has been in my presence, while I’ve been here, he’s been a sort of father figure,” Vick told NFL.com’s Albert Breer. “[As] a father figure, you’re mentoring someone, anyone you care about, you’re gonna tell them the right things to do, the correct way to do things at the right time, and give them advice when they need it. And that person needs to be open and easy to talk to. That’s a father figure.
“I can honestly say he’s been the substitute for the man in my life that I don’t have right now. It’s great, because I really don’t have too many people to lean on.”
When Reid offered Vick his first post-prison opportunity three years ago, things looked much different. Donovan McNabb was the incumbent, Kevin Kolb the draft pick being groomed to replace him. All Reid offered Vick was a chance to get in shape.
“The one thing coach told me was I needed some time,” Vick said. “He more than anybody convinced me that I needed time to get my legs back, and the reason I believed him — I don’t know. I really thought I could come back and play. But I knew the type of numbers that Donovan had. I knew every time a quarterback other than Donovan stepped on the field, he had success. So I was saying to myself, ‘What better place to go, with a coach that I really admired from afar when I knew nothing about him?'”
Now, the two are linked by loss. After the death of Reid’s son Garrett, Vick said he was “crushed.” And you can tell by the way coach and quarterback respond to each other, there’s more than the typical bond.
“I mean, I’m close with him. I understand that. It’s obviously humbling, because is a good kid,” Reid said. “When you go through certain things with certain people in your life, you become very close to them. He knows I’ll always be there for him, to help him out.
“That doesn’t mean I’m not gonna coach him hard or do those things, but I’ll always be there for him.”
That kind of loyalty is what Vick was looking for, and part of the reason he wants to win, to repay the favor.