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Eagles coach Reid taking leave of absence

PHILADELPHIA (Feb. 12, 2007) -- Eagles coach Andy Reid will leave the team for a month to deal with family issues, a decision that comes less than two weeks after two sons got into separate legal trouble on the same day.

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

"He's not going to come into the office, but he will be available for calls and to collaborate and he will be here if we have free agents in for a visit," Eagles president Joe Banner said. "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 happened, we had finalized our own plans on our free agents and we had put together our preliminary plans on players we would be interested in," Banner said.

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 substance.

Andy 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 has 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 injuries to McNabb and star defensive end Jevon Kearse.

"People deal with circumstances in life of all different kinds and still carry on their careers and professions, and that's the kind of guy Andy is," Banner said.

The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2007, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved

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