The emotion swept over LeSean McCoy as he started talking about Andy Reid and getting drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles. They helped turn a skinny kid with a “teenage body frame” into the greatest running back in franchise history. Hopefully, the folks in Canton were paying attention.
McCoy officially retired from the NFL on Friday (Oct. 1) after signing a one-day contract with the Eagles. Before walking off into the sunset, he took a moment to reflect on his 12-year NFL career. The two-time Super Bowl champion had to fight off tears as he tried to define his legacy.
“A guy that loved the game, right? I remember years when we were 4-12, right? And I remember still hyping myself up like I got to go out there and produce, whereas some guys didn’t feel like that,” McCoy told reporters. “I always wanted to showcase and display a certain attitude that I loved the game and take it very seriously, that’s something I want to be remembered as. And also I want to be remembered as the best running back to ever play for the Philadelphia Eagles.”
Statistically, he is. McCoy’s 6,792 rushing yards tops the all-time franchise list, 254 yards ahead of Wilbert Montgomery. But the cut-on-a-dime lightning bolt didn’t get to leave on his own terms. He added 4,310 yards in other area codes following an unpopular trade.
His biggest regret? Not logging all of them in Philly.
“I wish it lasted longer,” McCoy said. “I feel like the rushing yards record would have been even bigger and I could have been there for that championship run [in 2017]. But legacy-wise, man, a true Philadelphia Eagles player who gave it all he had every game, loved his teammates, who shared that same compassion and competitive nature as the fans.”
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McCoy on Hall of Fame: “We’ll See”
No one can argue McCoy’s status atop the pantheon of Eagles greats. The best running back to ever do it, just roll the highlights of the “Snow Game” for proof. The evidence might be blurry, but it’s there. He’ll be invited back to the Linc in the near future for another ceremony: Eagles Hall of Fame.
Then comes the trickier issue of entering football immortality. McCoy has already been mentioned as a candidate for the Pro Football Hall of Fame and he was one of three backs named to the 2010s All-Decade Team.
He ranks 22nd on the NFL’s all-time list for rushing yards. Sixteen of the guys above him are Hall of Famers, with another two unretired (Frank Gore, Adrian Peterson), and three not enshrined: Fred Taylor, Corey Dillon, Steven Jackson.
The magic number has been 12,000 yards. And McCoy sits at 11,102 yards. Does he deserve a Gold Jacket? Probably, yes.
“I don’t know, I think I have the numbers of a lot of the guys that go in,” McCoy said. “I’ll just say that I feel I’m just as good as some off them guys. I have the things that you need to get in there: Super Bowls, I got stats, I got a lot of stats, if you want to do that game.
“And then I think it’s very important to discuss the players and their time. How did you do? How did you compete with other guys? And I was one of the best players of my decade. Which was already documented.”
Now he’ll have to be voted in after a five-year waiting period. McCoy made his plea during his retirement press conference on Friday (Oct. 1) and asked the writers in the room to put in a good word.
“So hopefully I can get in but we’ll see,” McCoy said. “That would definitely be amazing, too.”
Shady Thought About Returning in 2021
The decision to retire in 2021 was a little touch and go, according to McCoy. He had considered coming back for what would have been his 13th NFL season. McCoy said the teams who reached out weren’t quite of the caliber he was looking for. (He wouldn’t name them). Plus, his kids are getting older and he wanted to be around for them.
“I actually was going to play and then I just looked at the opportunities that I had, the types of teams,” McCoy said. “Do I want to play for these teams at this point in my career? A lot of guys just chase numbers, I would love to have a little more numbers. But my kids are getting older, this would be, what, my 13th season? It was just time.”
So he and Eagles general manager Howie Roseman discussed doing something at the Eagles-Chiefs game on Oct. 3. The chance to retire at a sold-out Linc in front of Eagles fans, with the coach who drafted him in the house, was too appealing to pass up.
“And we kind of scheduled the game with Andy Reid, it was a no-brainer,” McCoy said. “I could have waited but I thought the timing was right. And we just did it.”