PHILADELPHIA - Eagles fans chose to thank former coach Andy Reid on Thursday rather than razz him.
When Reid led Kansas City out of the visitor's tunnel at Lincoln Financial Field prior to the game, the crowd rewarded him with a rousing, standing ovation in recognition of his 14-year tenure as the Eagles' coach.
Lower Township resident Bob Obermeier, a 57-year-old Eagles season-ticket holder who sits in front of the press box at the Linc, was among those who applauded.
"I'm definitely going to cheer for him because he did a lot of good things for this franchise," Obermeier said before the game. "No way I would boo him. There were some things he did that I didn't agree with, like his clock management, but he gave us 10 years of good seasons that were certainly better than the 10 years before he got here.
"The only thing he didn't accomplish was winning a Super Bowl. If he had done that, he'd be king here."
Most of Thursday's festivities surrounded former quarterback Donovan McNabb, who became the ninth player in Eagles' history to have his jersey retired.
But the Eagles also chose to honor Reid for his service with a brief video tribute on the giant scoreboards.
When he walked onto the field, the scoreboards displayed his picture with the message: "Thank You Coach Reid" and a list of his accomplishments.
That was a welcome site for many of the Eagles' current and former players who were with Reid during some of his successes and failures both on and off the field.
During the week, wide receiver DeSean Jackson, running back LeSean McCoy and quarterback Michael Vick were among those who were hopeful that Reid would be warmly welcomed back to town, even though he was wearing red-and-yellow garb instead of green-and-black.
"He deserves an ovation," McCoy said Tuesday. "Coach is a winning coach, man. And he was a good coach."
Reid was fired by Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie after last season's 4-12 season that ranked as the worst record since they went 3-13 in 1998 under former coach Ray Rhodes.
Reid, who was hired by the Chiefs less than a week after being dismissed, left the Eagles as the winningest coach in franchise history with a 140-120-1 record. He also led the Eagles to eight playoff berths, six NFC East titles, five appearances in the NFC championship game and a trip to the Super Bowl in 2004.
"I think he's going to get a warm reception," Vick said earlier in the week. "I think this city appreciates everything that Andy's done. Obviously they wanted more. We always want more."
For his part, Reid tried to downplay his return in a conference call earlier in the week.
He insisted that all of his focus was on preparing the Chiefs to face the Eagles and was doing his best to try to avoid the distractions.
"Who knows?" Reid said when asked about how he'd be received by fans. "I don't go there. If we weren't playing a good football team, maybe I'd miss the guys over there. I loved every minute of my time there and I'm appreciative of it, but I can't get caught up in that stuff and I can't worry about it."
Reid first emerged from the tunnel during pregame warmups while the stadium was still mostly empty. He immediately turned his back to the Eagles players and shooed away some cameras. Finally, Eagles player relations and former wide receiver Harold Carmichael approached him.
Lurie and Reid embraced, then new Eagles coach Chip Kelly trotted over for a handshake and a few words, followed by injured Eagles wide receiver Jeremy Maclin.
Curiously, none of the Eagles players in uniform Thursday spoke to him. A few, including McCoy, Vick and Jackson, praised their old coach earlier in the week.
Reid drafted Jackson and McCoy in 2008 and 2009, respectively. He made the controversial decision to sign Vick as a free agent in 2009 after he served 23 months in federal prison on dog-fighting-related charges.
"I definitely wish coach Reid the best except for (Thursday)," Vick said. "He gave me an opportunity to come back into the league and join this organization when no one else would and I'll never forget that."
McNabb also had kind words for his former coach.
They were together for 11 seasons, starting in 1999 when Reid chose McNabb with the No. 2 overall pick in that year's draft.
"His legacy in Philadelphia is of a winning coach, a player's coach," McNabb said Wednesday. "When (former coach) Dick Vermeil left, fans grew to appreciate what he did and the same could go for Andy. To take a team that was 3-13 in 1998 and win nine or 10 games almost every year is quite an accomplishment. And he always brought out the best in everyone."
Not all of the fans were in the mood to honor Reid, however.
Barnegat resident and Cape May native Karl Hess, 53, said before the game that he intended to applaud Reid, but would not be getting up from his seat in the West end zone for a standing ovation.
"I'll give him a polite clap," Hess said. "He did bring a lot of winning seasons to Philly after many, many years of complete frustration. As long as I don't have to listen to another one of his boring press conferences I'll cheer."
Hess, who served more than 20 years in the United States Air Force, had the same planned reaction for McNabb's jersey ceremony.
McNabb holds virtually every passing record in Eagles' history, but his quirky personality and inability to bring the Eagles their first Super Bowl outweighed some of those statistics.
"I think Donovan was a really, really good quarterback," Hess said. "He's the best quarterback we've ever had. But he didn't win the Super Bowl and I can't believe he lost to Tampa Bay and Arizona (in the NFC championship game). I also don't know how good he was as a leader. He has a very bizarre personality."
Obermeier, co-owner of Town Bank Builders in Lower Township, thought that McNabb deserved to be lauded.
He believed McNabb's achievements were even more impressive because of the lack of offensive talent around him for most of his career as an Eagle. Aside from running back Brian Westbrook and the 2004 season with wide receiver Terrell Owens, he was not surrounded by a lot of elite players.
"He was kind of goofy at times, but he did a lot considering the talent he had to work with," Obermeier said. "I'm sure there will be that vocal 10 percent that boo him, but there will be that other 90 percent like myself who will cheer him."
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