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NFL

Eagles rally around embattled coach Reid

| Thursday, Dec. 27, 2012, 7:30 p.m.

PHILADELPHIA — From rookies to veterans, the Philadelphia Eagles fully support Andy Reid.

While many fans wanted him fired a long time ago and the media expects he'll be gone next week, Reid's players are firmly behind their embattled coach.

“I feel like coach Reid will be here,” LeSean McCoy said. “That's my mindset until I'm told otherwise. He's a great coach. I support him. I think he should stay here.”

Almost to a man, other players expressed similar thoughts. That's a rarity these days in the NFL. Players are known to grumble about their coach, especially when a team isn't having much success and he's on the hot seat.

It's a different story in Philadelphia. In all corners of the locker room, the Eagles have Reid's back. You won't even find players complaining about him off the record.

“If you look at Coach Reid's track record, the things he's been able to accomplish are going to be hard to top,” Michael Vick said. “It takes a lot of hard work, a lot of commitment.”

The Eagles (4-11) close a dismal season at the New York Giants (8-7) on Sunday. For the second straight year, they began with high expectations only to fail miserably. It's a widespread assumption it will cost Reid his job.

Owner Jeffrey Lurie said before the season that another 8-8 finish would be “unacceptable.” He also said “we need substantial improvement” for him to give Reid a contract extension. Reid, though, has one more year left on his deal for about $6 million.

“We really hope he's back next year,” Jason Avant said.

Reid has won more games in 14 seasons than any coach in franchise history. With 140 victories, including playoffs, he's 22nd on the NFL career list. He's led the Eagles to nine playoff appearances, six division titles, five NFC championship games and one Super Bowl loss.

But his failure to win the franchise's first NFL title since 1960 is how he's measured in this football-crazed city.

The Giants still have slim playoff hopes, so a victory send-off for Reid also would knock a division rival out of contention. Playing spoiler doesn't mean as much to the Eagles as winning one for their coach.

This already was a difficult year for Reid before the Eagles even played their first game. His oldest son, Garrett Reid, died during training camp after a long battle with drug addiction.

“Coach has given us so much,” safety Kurt Coleman said. “To go through what he's gone through and to continue to fight for us, we're not going to stop fighting for him. That's not what's going to happen.”

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