If it wasn't for Andy Reid, Matt Nagy might still be working as a salesman for Keystone Custom Homes in Lancaster, Pa.
That's where the Bears coach was employed in 2010—after concluding a seven-year playing career as a quarterback in the Arena Football League—when Reid offered Nagy a full-time job as an offensive assistant with the Eagles. He had previously worked with Philadelphia as a coaching intern, recommended to Reid by Nagy's close friend and former Delaware teammate Brett Veach, who worked for the Eagles.
Nagy would ultimately spend 10 seasons on Reid's staff with the Eagles (2008-12) and Chiefs (2013-17) before being hired as Bears head coach in 2018. As Nagy prepares to face his mentor Sunday night at Soldier Field for the first time in the regular season, he reflected on how grateful he is to Reid.
"Coach Reid just took me under his wing and we built trust with one another," Nagy said. "I'm just very appreciative."
Nagy speaks with Reid frequently and leaned on his former boss for support during the Bears' four-game losing streak earlier this season.
"He's just a calming presence," Nagy said. "He's somebody that I trust as a friend, as a mentor. The amount of trust that I have for him and the experience, the life experiences and the coaching experiences that he's been through, and the experiences we've been through together for so many years, he's taught me to be who I am as a coach and taught me to be myself as a human being.
"When those times arise, where you need a little bit of advice from somebody who's been through something, he's the guy I go to. He [was] phenomenal through that stretch where we were [struggling] … I just appreciate that more than anything. He's one of my favorite people in the world."
Reid is very familiar with the Bears and the City of Chicago, mostly due to spending seven seasons as a Packers assistant coach from 1992-98. He also understands that down seasons are going to occur in the NFL and has full confidence that Nagy will help the Bears rebound.
"We've all been through that, and it happens," Reid said. "That's what makes Matt so unique. He's so mentally tough. He tries to get the best out of his guys. The guys know that. And so, he'll be fine. I think he's great for the city of Chicago. I was in Green Bay for all those years and then in the NFC for those years, so I know Chicago. Chicago is a tough place. It's a blue-collar place and that's what he is. He's a central PA guy; he's got that toughness. I just think it's a great fit."
Nagy is eager to catch up with Reid before and after Sunday night's game. But during the contest itself, they'll be anything but friends.
"When the game's going on, coach will be the first one to tell you we're competitors," Nagy said. "I think that's what kind of helps us, and what helps us relate to one another is we're both competitive. We like competitive people on our staff. We like competitive players.
"When the whistle blows and we're going out there to play against one another, he's going to be doing everything he can to put it to us. We're going to do everything we can to win the game. We both respect that. That's task-related; that's not personal. But before and after, he's completely family to me."