An emotional Dan Reeves began making plans Tuesday to attend the funeral of his close friend and agent.
Robert Fraley, 46, was one of six people, including two-time U.S. Open champion Payne Stewart, killed in a plane crash Monday near Mina, S.D.
For Reeves, the loss is far more personal than professional. The Atlanta Falcons coach learned of the tragedy when his wife called him Monday afternoon in a Pittsburgh hotel as he preparing for a game his team would lose 13-9 to the Steelers.
Reeves plans to attend a memorial service for Fraley on Thursday in Orlando, Fla.
"I never knew anybody who, from day one, could go through life and be that straightforward and honest," Reeves said, choking back tears. "I just talked to him Saturday. He was coming to our Jacksonville game (Nov. 7), he and Dixie."
"It's just a shock."
After departing Orlando, the private jet was destined for Dallas. Instead, it is believed the plane lost cabin pressure somewhere over north Florida, went on automatic pilot and crashed in South Dakota when it ran out of fuel.
Fraley and his partner, Van Ardan, 45, were agents for Stewart. Reeves had been Fraley's client since 1983, when Reeves was in his third season as coach of the Denver Broncos.
Originally brought together by former Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs, Reeves and Fraley quickly became friends.
"(Gibbs) told me, `I highly recommend this guy. He's a great guy, he's a great Christian,"' Reeves said. "He was that way from day one."
On Tuesday, Reeves was marveling at the prowess Fraley showed while negotiating a five-year, $9-million contract with the Falcons in January 1997.
Reeves said his son Lee worked one year in Fraley's Orlando office and "became part of their family."
"When I walked in my office today, I looked at my Rolodex, and his card was the first one just looking right at me," Reeves said. "It's hard to believe."
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