Poor Andy Reid.
It's one thing, for any parent, to have to deal with the death of a child.
But it's another, when you're the coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, to cope with that death when a season of high expectations is on the horizon.
After last year's 8-8 finish, the longtime coach -- arguably the best in franchise history -- was put on the hotseat by team owner Jeffrey Lurie for faltering during a "Dream Team" season in which nothing short of a Super Bowl would suffice.
So, now comes this year and the team looks very sharp and determined as it trains during camp at Lehigh University.
Suddenly, there's tragedy as Reid's eldest son Garrett has died on campus grounds, casting a dark cloud over an atmosphere that looked so sunny and bright.
If you're in Reid's shoes, is this season going to be anything but fair to the coach?
The answer is a plain and simple No.
There's no way any human being can rebound from such a tragedy and suddenly focus like everything is fine and nothing has changed.
Reid, a noted tough guy, can do all he wants to try and hide his emotions. He can put all his energy and focus into his job and his football team, but how can anybody overcome such a tragedy?
As they say, "Time heals all wounds."
But will Reid have the time?
As compassionate people, we all should say yes and give Reid a mulligan for this year. He gets a pass. If he fails, blame it on his devastation.
But this is Philadelphia and the National Football League.
If Reid decided to take the season off to handle his grief, while everyone would understand, Philly's fan following and media would probably state that the coach bailed out on his team.
Yet if Reid comes back immediately and the losses mount, everyone will say that his mind is elsewhere and that Reid shouldn't be on the sidelines.
In other words, Reid is in a no-win situation this year.
Maybe, just maybe, the team rallies around the coach, dedicates the season to Reid's son, goes undefeated and wins the Super Bowl.
Maybe such a tragedy gives this team an emotional edge this year to do whatever it takes to win the championship.
But, in reality, that's a lot to ask.
Reid, based on his persona, will say all the right things. He'll tell everyone that he's fine and doing his job. He'll say that the best place for him to recover is on a football field.
But Reid just might not have it in him this year.
When the son of Tony Dungy, coach of the Indianapolis Colts, committed suicide, the team stood at 14-1 and was having a monster season. But its heart went out in the playoffs.
It wasn't until the following year that Dungy got back that will to win and the Colts won the Super Bowl.
So maybe this isn't the year for the Birds based on this tragedy. Maybe it will take a year for Reid to mend and to be somewhat capable of having the fire back in his belly.
No one should fault him if Reid doesn't have that fire anymore. After such a tragedy, how could anyone?
But is that enough for Philadelphia Eagles fans? Can we wait another season?
We just might have to.
Dino Ciliberti is the editor of the Palmer/Forks Patch.com site. He covers professional sports for the Lehigh Valley.