When Andy Reid was fired by the Philadelphia Eagles after the 2012 season, he decided he wanted to get back to doing what he does best: coaching.
Reid returned to Philadelphia on Saturday to appear on a panel with Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff at the NFL's Career Development Symposium at Penn's Wharton School. The topic was managing key relationships, and the audience included 70 NFL assistant coaches and player-personnel executives aspiring for bigger jobs.
Reid fielded a question about evaluating his shortcomings. It did not take much time for Reid to answer.
"About a year ago, I found out what I wasn't good at because (I was) out the door," said Reid, now the Kansas City Chiefs coach. "I went back, and I looked at it, and ... I drifted away from the thing I love doing most, and that was coaching."
Reid said he had a "phenomenal" offensive coordinator in Marty Mornhinweg, whom he entrusted with the offense. Former offensive coordinator Brad Childress used to tell Reid not to let his personality "leave the room," and Reid said that happened during his final years in Philadelphia.
"I took (myself) completely out, dealt more with personnel ... stopped calling the plays, all those things," Reid said.
When Reid was fired, he determined that he was going to call plays again in his next job. He identified one problem: Mornhinweg was a close friend and a coach he admired, and he did not want Mornhinweg to go backward in his career. That's why they split last season, he said, and Mornhinweg went to the New York Jets, where he calls plays.
"It also allowed me to ... try to keep my personality in the room and do what I like doing," Reid said. "I learned a lesson. I thought I stepped out for the right reasons. It probably wasn't the right thing to do."
In Philadelphia, Reid had final say on all football decisions. His job now is "more football." Reid declared his complete trust in Chiefs general manager John Dorsey.
"It's not because I didn't trust Howie Roseman; that's not what it is," Reid said after the panel discussion. "It's just where things kind of went. ... I just got back into what I enjoy doing more than the personnel."
Reid spoke on two panels on Saturday; the other focused on respect in the workplace, a hot issue after turmoil in the Miami Dolphins locker room last season and Michael Sam's entering the NFL as the first openly gay player. Reid was adamant about showing respect to every person, from the janitor to the owner.
Eagles cornerback Brandon Boykin also participated on a panel, with former Eagles cornerback Brandon Hughes, Denver Broncos general manager John Elway, and Carolina Panthers coach Ron Rivera. The subject was managing and coaching today's players. Boykin lauded Chip Kelly's communication skills and vouched for the benefits of veteran leadership in a locker room.
But Reid remained one of the afternoon's headliners, and his candidness about his final years in Philadelphia revealed a refreshed, reflective coach.
"I'm not saying (it was) the wrong way to go; we had a lot of success in Philadelphia," Reid said. "But where I was in my career, this is what I want to do. And it worked out where I could actually do that."
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