Eagles' Reid to take leave until mid-March

PHILADELPHIA -- Andy Reid is facing a crisis far tougher
than a quarterback controversy or a disruptive player.

The Philadelphia Eagles coach will leave the team for a month to
deal with developments that have rocked his family the past two
weeks -- one son tested positive for heroin, another was arraigned
on drug and weapons charges.

The team said the leave will last until mid-March.

"He's not going to come into the office. His priorities will be
his family for that period of time, but he will be available to
have a couple of calls with us and collaborate and if he needed to
be here for a visit of a free agent," Eagles president Joe Banner
said Monday. "He will retain final say over whatever we do."

Reid, who is also the team's head of football operations, will
miss the NFL scouting combine and the start of free agency. Teams
may begin voluntary offseason workouts March 19. Reid plans to
attend the NFL owners' meetings in Arizona in late March, and will
be back for the NFL draft April 28-29.

The Eagles have 11 unrestricted free agents, notably wide
receiver Donte' Stallworth and backup quarterback Jeff Garcia.

"Before any of this had happened, we had finalized our own
plans as to what we're going to do and not do with our own guys,"
Banner said. "We'd also put together our preliminary plan for the
non-Eagle players that we could be interested in."

General manager Tom Heckert and the team's assistant coaches
will handle the interviewing of players at the scouting combine in
Indianapolis, though Reid might be able to meet with some players
at another time.

Garrett Reid, 23, tested positive for heroin after he caused a
traffic accident Jan. 30, police said. No charges have been filed,
but prosecutors are looking at the case. Police have said he could
be charged with driving under the influence of a controlled
substance, a misdemeanor.

Britt Reid, 21, was arraigned on drug and weapons charges. He is
accused of pointing a handgun at another driver following a dispute
and faces a felony charge of carrying a firearm without a license
as well as misdemeanor charges of lying to authorities, simple
assault, making terroristic threats and possession of a controlled

Asked if this leave could lead to a longer one, Banner said:
"No. I don't know if he's coming back on [March] 13th or the 17th
or the 18th. That's why that's a little bit vague, but he will be
returning in and around that time frame."

Reid has led the Eagles to the playoffs six times, including
four trips to the NFC championship game and one Super Bowl, in
eight seasons as head coach. He's dealt with several challenges the
past two seasons from the Terrell Owens' soap opera and a series of
key injuries in 2005 to losing five-time Pro Bowl quarterback
Donovan McNabb in Week 11 this past season.

Despite McNabb's injury, the Eagles won their final five games
behind Garcia, finished 10-6 to capture their fifth NFC East title
in six years and reached the second round of the playoffs. Many
considered it Reid's best coaching job in Philadelphia. Players
credited his steady approach for helping them overcome a difficult
midseason stretch and the season-ending injuries to McNabb and star
defensive end Jevon Kearse.

"People deal with circumstances in life of all different kinds,
some more serious, some less serious, some more preoccupied and
less so, and are still able to carry on with their careers and
their professions," Banner said. "I think that's the kind of guy
that Andy is, that he'll both be able to have his priorities in the
right place, do what he needs to do, do the right thing, and also
be able to return as the head coach and do the same quality job
he's always done."