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Enjoying The Marvelous McCoy

Posted Oct 3, 2012

Here he is, post practice, leg propped up on a stool in the NovaCare Complex locker room, leaning forward as reporters crowd around him. Shady McCoy is, as always, the center of attention ...

Game after game, week after week, LeSean McCoy is there for the Eagles. He is in his fourth season here and is on pace to shatter franchise records for rushing yards, ground touchdowns and yards per carry and, oh, somewhere around the 2014 season, McCoy will vault past Steve Van Buren, and then Brian Westbrook and, finally, Wilbert Montgomery atop the all-time franchise rankings.

None of that matters to McCoy on this day. He has the Pittsburgh Steelers on his mind and he knows -- we all know -- that Pittsburgh's defensive scheme will look first to take away McCoy's cutback abilities and breathtaking make-him-miss moves and then consider the rest of the Eagles' many offensive weapons.

McCoy is first, above all. He is the engine of this offense and his touches the football far and away more than any player other than quarterback Michael Vick. McCoy ranks third in the league in rushing yards on the heels of his Pro Bowl season, is averaging 20 carries and more than 3 receptions per game.

It's his heaviest burden in the NFL, although he was far more of a workhorse during his two years at the University of Pittsburgh.

So as McCoy prepares to go back to his college roots -- "Lotta ticket requests," he said, laughing -- he does so as a complete back, as perhaps the best in the NFL. Certainly, and I'm sure you would agree, there is no other back who better fits this offense than McCoy, who adds to his complete ability as a hard-working blocker in the passing game.

Aren't we lucky to have him? McCoy, a second-round draft pick in 2009, has developed so wonderfully on and off the field. He has none of the diva qualities that some of the great ones in the league have and is, in fact, one of the most enjoyable players on the team to be around. He's the kind of kid who walks past you in the hallway of the NovaCare Complex and shouts out, "There's my favorite person in the building," and gives you a high five and you know, you just know and you don't care, that he says the same thing to the next 10 people he sees.

"I love the kid," says head coach Andy Reid. "He's a joy to be around."

Brian Dawkins waved goodbye to a stadium full of admirers and tens of thousands of fans around the world on Sunday night as the Eagles retired his jersey No. 20 and immediately ushered him into the team's Hall of Fame. There aren't many others on the immediate horizon who merit consideration for such honors -- Donovan McNabb is one -- but McCoy is certainly in line for such recognition some day.

Many years into the future, we hope, after McCoy is finished playing and leaving defenders in his dust and breaking arm tackles from off-balance linebackers who can't keep up with his change of direction, McCoy is going to be remembered as someone special, someone great.

I hope you appreciate how great he is right now, and that you don't wait until the end of his career to look back fondly. What we have on our hands is a player who could very well go down as the best in his position in team history. How many of them come along? Dawkins, yes. McNabb, arguably, and it would be a heated debate, I'm sure. Reggie White, no question about it.

Anybody else who has come across our radar in the last 20 seasons? There have been many fine players, but best in franchise history? Only a handful.

And McCoy, in only his fourth season, is worthy of such consideration. He's the kind of young man you want to succeed as he plays with such joy, so much love for the game and off the field he has a mirthful personality and a twinkle in his eyes and he wants to do no harm to anyone.

He just wants to play football, and be the best in the league. He's right there, isn't he? And he's ours to enjoy each day, each week, each time he lines up for a snap and the football finds its way into his hands and he dances and darts and finds a way to make something good happen.

That's what the great ones do. And McCoy, in Year 4, is a great one. You better believe that the Steelers are coaching their defensive players to stay disciplined against his change of direction and his unpredictable juts and jukes. It's the ultimate compliment, really. And it's the ultimate chess match. McCoy has to figure out a way to make it work, combined with the coaching staff putting together a great game plan and the other 10 Eagles on the field, opening enough daylight for McCoy to scoot through and continue his rise up the record book and into the hall of greatness in franchise history.

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