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Award Highlights Marvelous McCoy

Posted Jul 5, 2014

It was a day for Philadelphia to celebrate running back LeSean McCoy and present him with the prestigious John Wanamaker Athletic Award, which McCoy accepted with smiles ...

It was a day for Philadelphia to celebrate running back LeSean McCoy and present him with the prestigious John Wanamaker Athletic Award, which McCoy accepted with smiles.

A special moment. A special award. More awareness of McCoy and his talents, and how fortunate we are to have him as an Eagle. For those who don't know, the John Wanamaker Athletic Award is as good as it gets in Philadelphia, presented "to the athlete, team or organization which has done the most to reflect credit upon Philadelphia and to the team or sport in which they excel." The biggest of the big names in Philadelphia sports are on the list of winners since the inception of the honor in 1961 (Hall of Famer Chuck Bednarik was the first recipient), one that McCoy deservedly joins.

What made it an even more unique moment for McCoy is that he was joined as he accepted the award by former running back Brian Westbrook, who served as a mentor to McCoy when McCoy was drafted in 2009 and who passed the torch of great Eagles running backs to McCoy in a nurturing manner.

The two have remained close through the years and Westbrook has provided guidance and advice, and he has also observed as McCoy has become a standout running back in the NFL, the latest in a long line of terrific players at the position for the Eagles.

"He's unique in the way he makes people miss and the way he has that great vision," says Westbrook of McCoy. "I think he's great. I love watching him play. He has great passion and he works hard and he loves the game."

The John Wanamaker Athletic Award McCoy received earlier this week was the latest recognition of McCoy's achievement, which truly puts him in rarified air not only among the best of the best in the history of this franchise, but in the NFL today. Debating which running back on this team or that team is better is something we do to pass the time, but all that matters here is that McCoy is a great fit in this offense and that he is a key piece of the plans in 2014.

The point here is to again take a moment and feel thankful for another terrific running back in an Eagles uniform. The decades have passed and the Eagles continue to find the right running backs to produce. It was Wilbert Montgomery in the late 1970s and early 1980s. It was Ricky Watters, then, who started off a chain that has included Duce Staley and Westbrook and McCoy. The chain of succession is envious.

McCoy is, from this perspective, the best of the group. He is the total package who plays with an infectious joy and energy to complement his remarkable natural skills. Very much in his prime, McCoy coming off a strong spring, is in great shape for 2014 and hopes to help the offense reach new heights after a record-setting 2013 campaign.

"What you have in LeSean is someone who has a lot of natural ability, to begin with," said Staley, now the team's running backs coach. "He has also worked extremely hard through the years to improve in every aspect of his game. He's gotten stronger. He's smarter. He'll take 3-4 yards instead of trying to break a big one every time. He's much more patient and he allows the blocks to set up and allow the play to develop.

"LeSean comes to work every day and that's a big part of it. You have to be consistent at this level. You have to produce every day and he does that."

The awards are nice and they'll look great on his mantle through the years. McCoy's focus is on the season ahead. There is a great sense of anticipation from everyone as to what the Eagles can accomplish in 2014.

They've got a fantastic situation at running back with McCoy and veteran Darren Sproles and a host of younger backs who are developing and coming on strong. The lineage continues. The Eagles are stocked at the position, led by McCoy and his brilliance. He is truly a player we can all enjoy every time he steps on the football field.

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