INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Consider it a lifetime moment.
It’s one Frank Reich will experience this evening in Philadelphia, and one he’s committed to helping recreate with the Indianapolis Colts.
A few hours after wrapping up his first offseason with his new team – the three-day mandatory minicamp concluded Thursday under clear skies – Reich will reunite with his old team. He’ll be on hand at a private venue in Philly as the Eagles receive their championship rings from their Super Bowl LII victory over the New England Patriots.
Reich was the Eagles’ offensive coordinator last season and savored their Feb. 8 championship parade through the streets of Philadelphia. Less than a week later, he interviewed with the Colts and quickly succeeded Chuck Pagano as head coach.
Reich very much wanted join his former team for tonight’s ring ceremony, and Colts owner Jim Irsay made that possible by making his private jet available.
“Everyone has always said . . . ‘You don’t want to miss the parade and you don’t want to miss he ring ceremony,’’’ Reich said. “They say that’s pretty cool.’’
Reich endured five near-miss moments before finally experiencing a world championship.
He was Jim Kelly’s backup as the Buffalo Bills made a record four consecutive Super Bowl appearances (1990-93) – and losses – and was the Colts’ quarterbacks coach in 2009 when they lost to the New Orleans Saints in Super Bowl XLIV. Reich was an intern with the Colts in 2006 when they defeated the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XLI, but did not accompany the team to South Florida.
“I’m thankful to Mr. Irsay who’s allowing me to take his plane down there so I can be here to work, hop on it and then come back tonight,’’ Reich said. “Really, really gracious of him.’’
Ideally, he added, the event will serve as a reminder of what he, Irsay and general manager Chris Ballard are attempting to achieve in Indy. It’s been more than a decade since the Colts staged their championship parade through the frigid downtown streets and enjoyed their ring ceremony at a downtown venue.
The only on-field holdovers from that championship team are placekicker Adam Vinatieri; Robert Mathis, who has retired and returned as an assistant coach; and defensive backs coach Alan Williams. Reggie Wayne served as a volunteer coach during the offseason.
“A lot of people in this building, in this city, knows what a parade feels like, what a championship parade feels like and what that ring ceremony feels like for the people that were involved with it,’’ Reich said. “So I get to experience that tonight.
“I just know it’s going to give me a taste of what we want here, and getting the people here to accomplish that goal multiple times.’’