Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid is one of the greatest coaches of his era and possesses one of the more creative offensive minds the NFL has seen over the last 20 years. Like any coach, Reid has a set of rules and guidelines he lives by, and one that was revealed recently might shock you. Apparently, Reid doesn’t talk to rookies.
According to DeSean Jackson and LeSean “Shady” McCoy on a recent episode of I Am Athlete with Brandon Marshall and Adam “Pacman” Jones, that’s how Reid operates. Even Marshall and Jones were blown away by this statement from McCoy and cosigning by Jackson. The real attention grabber is that the other two Pro Bowlers in the room were surprised at this statement.
An NFL coach not speaking to rookies sounds extremely old school. McCoy and Jackson said, “you have to earn it with him [Reid].” That seems to be the overall sentiment among players regarding rookies, where they want first-year guys to come in, be humble and ready to work, and earn their spot on the team no matter what round they were drafted.
Bleacher Report did a piece a while back about The Unwritten Rules of the NFL, and one of the major themes was that rookies should be seen and not heard. Former NFL tackle Eric Winston likens a player’s rookie NFL season to that of a college freshman. You’re starting all over again at the beginning.
“No matter who you were or what you were before you came to the NFL, you’ve got to go back to the beginning,” Winston said. “You came from a place where you were the big man on campus,” Winston explained.
“Everybody who comes into the NFL, even if you were a sixth-round pick, you were still probably one of the best, if not the best, players on your team.”
All of those are excellent points made by a 12-year NFL veteran. He’s seen it all and knows what he’s talking about. But it still sounds wild that a head coach won’t converse with his rookies. To Reid’s credit, Jackson did add that coach Reid loves his players to death, like a father.
We can’t really question Reid’s methods since he’s had some rookies and developed them Pro Bowlers, All-Pros, and all-time greats. Among some of the rookies Reid has coached that have gone on to be great players are Jackson, McCoy, Donovan McNabb, Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill, and Travis Kelce. All those players have been multiple-time Pro Bowl selections under Reid. Whatever Reid’s done in Philadelphia and Kansas City works, and that’s what matters.
We often hear about coaches earning players’ respect when they enter a new situation or as first-time head coaches. Obviously, Reid has conducted business this way for years if Jackson and McCoy are reminiscing about it. The early part of their careers with the Eagles was nearly a decade ago for McCoy and longer for Jackson.
Sometimes coaches that haven’t won Super Bowls get a bad wrap for being too hard on players or going about their daily business in a particular manner. Reid didn’t win a Super Bowl until the 2018-19 season for the Chiefs. Although he reached one with the Eagles, he couldn’t get that franchise its first Lombardi.
But you’ve never really heard any current or former Reid player say anything bad about him besides Le’Veon Bell. But Reid won early enough in his head coaching career with Philly to build up equity with his players. During Andy’s first six years in Philly, his teams won 11 or more five times.
One intriguing thing about these comments on Reid and rookies is that he’s had two prominent first-round rookie quarterbacks during his coaching career. McNabb was drafted second overall in 1999 to the eagles, while Mahomes was taken 10th by the Chiefs in 2017. McNabb started six games his rookie season, which was also Reid’s rookie year as a head coach, so I’m pretty sure that rule hadn’t yet been established. At least not for QBs.
By the time Mahomes came around in 2017, Reid was well established as one of the elite coaches in the league. While Mahomes only started and played in one game in 2017, I’d find it tough to believe that Reid and Mahomes had minimal interaction that season. The Chiefs traded up to draft Mahomes as their franchise QB. So, you’d have to think that rule is a little different for QBs, especially with Reid being a former QB coach and offensive coordinator.