Sep. 27—Moments after the Chiefs' discouraging 30-24 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday at Arrowhead Stadium, a subtly disorienting scene formed in the post-game interview room.
First, the wait for coach Andy Reid was notably longer than usual, a delay easy to assume was related to the distressing nature of a second straight defeat for the first time in two years.
Then, all of a sudden, assistant head coach and special teams coordinator Dave Toub entered the room, which was strange in itself because Chiefs coordinators never are available after games.
And here was Ted Crews, the team's executive vice president for communications, announcing that Reid had been feeling ill and was being checked out as a "precaution," even though "everything right now looks fine."
In that moment, our first thought, and hope, was that Reid on a day that reached 92 degrees was dealing with something along the lines of dehydration, which a source later told ESPN was the case. (If that's so, though, the Chiefs still haven't clarified that.)
So with that notion in mind instead of something more ominous, curious as we remained, everything seemed to validate that the 63-year-old Reid wasn't in danger and seemingly likely to be back to work in time to prepare the Chiefs to play his former team, the Eagles, on Sunday in Philadelphia.
In the 3-4 minutes Toub spoke, he downplayed it, too, saying Reid "just wasn't feeling well" and that he didn't see anything amiss during the game and thought he was fine.
It was news to running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire that there was anything wrong at all, and quarterback Patrick Mahomes added that Reid "seemed fine" on the sideline and when he addressed the team after the game.
So what was actually surreal somehow seemed routine, almost like business as usual. And since there was a football game to dissect, after all, we carried on with the grind not knowing what the NFL Network would report shortly thereafter: that Reid had left the stadium in an ambulance.
And not knowing what to make of safety Tyrann Mathieu's cryptic tweet to come: "I'm praying for my Head Coach & I'm hoping you can send up prayers with me!! One of the best men & teachers I've been around!!! GOD please show us your mercy!"
And not even really knowing how to process the Chiefs post on Twitter some six hours later vaguely stating again that Reid "felt ill at the conclusion of the game. He was evaluated by our medical staff in the locker room, & as a precaution, was transported to The University of Kansas Health System for further evaluation. Coach is doing well, currently resting & in stable condition."
Late Sunday night, in fact, much of this remained murky.
Here's what we do know, though:
That no matter how many times we get lessons in perspective, we can always use more.
And in this case, just as fan fury was peaking, we were all reminded not only that this game isn't life and death but also that those who play it and coach it are mortal and should be appreciated as human beings even when things aren't going as you might hope on the field.
To be sure, one of the reasons Reid is admired is because he's a terrific coach who has resurrected two franchises now and stands among the winningest in the history of the game. He is destined for the Pro Football Hall of Fame one day and already has a place among the icons of Kansas City sports history.
But part of the reason Reid is great at what he does is because of who he is and his compassion and sheer humanity.
That's why so many around the NFL were rooting for him to win his first Super Bowl two years ago and why his players and staff love him and why we could write a couple thousands words on why he's so beloved everywhere.
Simply stated, he treats people right, believes in second chances and helping people summon the best within them and demonstrates true care for players long after their playing days ... as any of his former Mizzou linemen will tell you.
There's a lot more to admire about Reid, of course, including being there for people in their hour of need in ways that aren't made public.
So in this apparent hour of need, here's wishing him a swift and complete recovery from whatever he's dealing with ... something we might all consider as the real story of Sunday even if it wasn't as clear as it might have been in the hustle and bustle of real time.
Football will go on no matter what, it would seem, but there's only one Andy Reid to cherish.
And after he missed this Sunday session, it will be great just to hear him say "time's yours" to the media again and, we can only hope, note that he's looking forward to the challenge of playing the Eagles.
This story was originally published September 27, 2021 12:03 AM.
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