|Judge: Reid sons battle drug addiction, identity crisis|
|Written by Admin|
|Saturday, 03 November 2007 10:05|
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - As he reached adulthood, the oldest son of Philadelphia Eagles coach Andy Reid searched for his own identity and found it on the bleak streets of North Philadelphia.|
Garrett Reid ``got a thrill'' out of being a drug dealer in the 'hood, just a few miles from his parents' suburban Villanova mansion.
``I liked being the rich kid in that area and having my own high-status life,'' Reid told a probation officer, according to court testimony this week. ``I could go anywhere in the 'hood. They all knew who I was. I enjoyed it. I liked being a drug dealer.''
The 24-year-old Garrett Reid and his 22-year-old brother Britt both face a treacherous future as they battle severe drug addiction and complete jail terms stemming from Britt's road-rage case and Garrett's heroin-fueled, high-speed crash.
Perhaps toughest of all will be trying to forge a sense of identity.
Their back-to-back sentencing hearings Thursday offered a glimpse into the lives of brothers who came of age on the NFL sidelines in the shadow of their famous father, whose every move was scrutinized as he transformed the Eagles into one of the league's elite teams with trips to five NFC championship games and a Super Bowl.
``I don't want to die doing drugs,'' Garrett Reid told the judge Thursday, his stone-faced parents listening from the front row.
``I don't want to be that kid who was the son of the head coach of the Eagles, who was spoiled and on drugs and OD'd and just faded into oblivion.''
The county judge who sentenced the pair offered hope but called their prognosis ``guarded.''
Montgomery County Judge Steven O'Neill reviewed files submitted by therapists, doctors, probation officers, police and lawyers before sentencing each brother to up to 23 months in jail.
O'Neill told Britt Reid it will take extensive treatment to ``find out who you are, and not be defined by your parents, your family and others.''
The slender young man, who sports a choppy red goatee, voiced modest but so-far elusive goals of finishing college, settling on a career and living ``a normal life.''
The second of the Reids' five children, Britt became hooked on several painkillers after a football injury at age 14. By his own admission Thursday, they have ruled his life ever since.
He also has taken steroids - the judge noted he's shrunk to 185 from his football playing weight of 250 - and a plethora of prescription drugs.
Doctors at a Florida detox center, which Britt Reid entered after his arrest for pulling a gun on a motorist in January, prescribed sedatives, a mood-disorder drug and an anti-opiate, O'Neill said.
In August, when Britt Reid was out on bail on the road-rage charge, employees at a Dick's Sporting Goods store called police to report a man wandering around the store for two hours, then stumbling out to look for his vehicle. Police found more than 30 pills in Britt Reid's pocket and another 237 more in his pickup.
The Florida stint was at least his second rehab attempt. In 2004, Britt Reid completed a court program in Arizona that followed an arrest for marijuana possession. Just months later, he was re-arrested for driving while intoxicated.
Garrett Reid, unlike his brother, said he never touched drugs until after graduating high school. He said he started using marijuana and alcohol at 18, began selling drugs the next year, and undertook the first of at least five rehab stints at 20.
Andy Reid appeared relieved at times during Thursday's daylong hearing, grateful perhaps that O'Neill held out the prospect of early release if his sons enter a drug-court program.
But the coach grew red-faced as O'Neill sharply questioned the oversight he and his wife, Tammy, provided.
Police investigating the brothers' cases found an astonishing array of prescribed and illegal drugs in the family vehicles: heroin, testosterone, cocaine, painkiller OxyContin, marijuana, needles, pills, even a drug scale.
They also found guns and high-powered ammunition in the home and vehicles.
Thursday night, police searched the Reid home, trying to identify 89 pills found that morning in Garrett Reid's jail cell. The coach's wife, Tammy Reid, provided investigators with prescriptions in Garrett Reid's name, and a search of his room turned up other prescriptions in his brother's name. Police also found two syringes and eight needles in his room, according to prosecutors.
Still, O'Neill acknowledged the Reids' enduring efforts to get their sons clean.
``You have a system around you taking care of you ... maybe enabling you,'' he told Garrett Reid.
Coach Reid offered the first real glimpse into the family's struggles at a team press conference Friday.
``This has been a battle we have dealt with here for a few years,'' Reid said. ``Our prayers are obviously with the boys, for their future.''
According to arrest papers filed Friday over the jail contraband, Garrett Reid told a cellmate he smuggled the pills into prison because he ``didn't want to go through what (he) did last time,'' apparently referring to drug withdrawal after his prior arrest.
The new charges could jeopardize his chances of applying to the drug-court program.
Britt Reid, who was jailed until sentencing after an August re-arrest, has been weaned of some of his prescriptions, his lawyer said.
``I feel a lot more clear now that I'm not on all those medications,'' Britt Reid said in court.
Yet O'Neill questioned whether he had the maturity and desire to survive the rigorous 15- to 24-month drug-court program. Participants attend weekly court sessions with other addicts - and have no parents or lawyers to lean on.
``I'm totally willing to go along with that,'' Britt Reid said.
His brother, facing few good alternatives, agreed.
``If that's what it's going to take to get clean and sober,'' Garrett Reid said, ``I want to do it.''
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