'I still have that green inside my heart'
The franchise's all-time leading rusher will retire an Eagle on Friday. He explains what the fans and the organization mean to him.
By LeSean McCoy
After 12 years in the NFL, I've decided to retire an Eagle because this is home to me. I still have that green inside my heart. There are times when I'd see the Eagles on TV, and it just felt weird not wearing that uniform. I instantly think back to all of those big games and the roar of the fans; I've just always seen myself as an Eagle. It's only right to come back home and retire an Eagle.
I've had some time to reflect on my career and how it unfolded. A lot of credit goes to my family. I truly believe it. My parents raised me to chase my dreams. I know growing up in Harrisburg a lot of kids had the same types of dreams, but I'm not sure if they really chased them. My father, Ron, taught me how to be a true man and sacrifice for his family. My mother, Daphne, is the rock of the family. She kept us together through good times and bad. She's the one I still go to when I have questions. She means everything to me. I'm thankful for two great parents.
My older brother, LeRon, was my role model growing up. To this day, he's still coaching me, still pushing me never to be complacent. Even after my Pro Bowl seasons, he was still on me. But that's what drove me to be the best I could be. He was on me when I was 10 years old. He was on me when I was 22, 23 years old. We still have a great tight bond.
I'm retiring because I'm at peace mentally. The only regret I've ever had was not spending my entire career as an Eagle. I look at guys like Jason Kelce and Larry Fitzgerald, lifelong friends of mine, who spent their whole career with one team. I grew up in Harrisburg, played my college football at Pittsburgh, and was drafted by the Eagles. I never thought it would have been like that, but it would have been so cool to finish my career only having played in this one state.
Philadelphia, you embraced me from day one, welcomed me in with open arms both on and off the field. It's a special place for me and always will be. To retire as an Eagle and be an Eagle for life is really important to me. I can't wait to see everyone this Sunday. I love Philadelphia because I came from that type of environment. Philly can be tough. You demand a lot from us, but I loved that. I like a challenge. If you're not happy, I always looked at it as, "Let's respond and find a way to play better."
Eagles fans just want to see that competitive nature out of their players, which I wanted to give. I always – always! – played for you. I always wanted to put on a show. I loved every minute of it. I wish I never left. When I went to other cities, my name was already established. I had to earn it in Philadelphia. Going back there when I was with Buffalo was emotionally tough. I've got a lot of love for the City of Philadelphia, and for you, the fans. When my kids get older, I can tell them that I played there and had a lot of great times, great memories.