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In the NFL, few men are more respected than Andy Reid. While he was previously dogged by issues with clock management and criticisms about his inability to win the big game, Big Red has finally made it over the hump. After lifting the Lombardi Trophy with the Kansas City Chiefs, no one can question his chops as a head coach.

While he’s a football lifer, it’s almost impossible to picture Andy Reid doing anything other than prowling the sideline calling offensive plays. Did Big Red ever hit the gridiron as an NFL player?

Andy Reid has had an impressive coaching career

Working as an NFL coach can be a pretty tough gig; if something goes wrong, your head will usually be the first one on the chopping block. Andy Reid, however, has spent almost three decades working in the pros.

Reid’s coaching career started out at BYU, where he began as a graduate assistant. After that, he bounced around the NCAA ranks, working with offensive lines at San Francisco State, Northern Arizona, UTEP, and Missouri.

In 1992, Big Red stepped up to the next level, joining the Green Bay Packers as an assistant; he rose as high as quarterback coach and assistant head coach before leaving Wisconsin and heading to Pennsylvania. Reid, of course, would join the Eagles as their head coach.

While he infamously failed to win a Super Bowl in Philly, Reid proved to be quite the success in the City of Brotherly Love. He dominated the NFC East, winning 130 games in 14 seasons with the Eagles and making the playoffs nine times before heading west to Kansas City. There, he turned the floundering franchise around, helped build one of the league’s most impressive offenses, and, perhaps most importantly, finally won the big game.

Did Andy Reid ever play professional football?

Based on his football success, it’s easy to assume that Andy Reid probably hit the gridiron at some point. While that was true for his time in college, Big Red never played in the NFL.

Reid played youth football and, as seen in a now-infamous Punt, Pass, and Kick video, had the physical tools to thrive on the offensive line. He then took his talents to Glendale Junior College before transferring to BYU; there, he spent three seasons playing offensive tackle and guard.

After graduation, though, Reid didn’t head to the NFL. Instead, he stayed in Provo and joined the Cougars’ coaching staff as a graduate assistant. Based on his career trajectory, it’s safe to say that he made the right move.

Even without an NFL playing career, he’s one of the most respected coaches around

From afar, Andy Reid’s lack of an NFL career might seem like a detriment; how can he earn the respect of players if he’s never made it beyond BYU? Big Red, however, never had that problem.

While Reid’s coaching record speaks for itself—he’s near the top of virtually every category and now has a Super Bowl ring to his name—you’ll also hear plenty of praise for his character. In a (sports) world filled with scandals and questionable choices, he seems to legitimately be one of the good guys.

In an ESPN story, Adam Teicher dug into Reid’s reputation; unsurprisingly, he found plenty of praise. Players highlighted the coach’s ability to connect with everyone, from a star quarterback to the last man on the depth chart. They also mentioned his honesty, openness, and willingness to treat his team as a group of adults, rather than grunts working to execute his master plan.

“You don’t feel like you’re playing for Andy Reid,” former Chiefs lineman Jeff Allen explained. “You feel like you’re playing with him.”

When push comes to shove, it’s an NFL coach’s job to get the best out of his team each and every Sunday. Andy Reid certainly has a knack for doing that, even if he never played in the pros.