LeSean McCoy vividly remembers the cheers from the Philadelphia faithful, he remembers the tight-knit bond he established with his teammates and he remembers with pride the success he had during his six years as a member of the Philadelphia Eagles.
A native of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, McCoy grew up rooting for the Eagles. He attended the University of Pittsburgh, where he rushed for 2,816 yards and 35 touchdowns in two seasons. After foregoing his final two seasons of college eligibility, he was selected by Philadelphia in the second round of the 2009 NFL Draft. Once in the pros, he quickly established himself as one of the best running backs in the league, rushing for a franchise-record 6,792 yards and 44 touchdowns in six seasons.
But after tying his worst mark in rushing efficiency (4.2 yards per carry) since his rookie campaign in 2014, McCoy was traded in March to the Buffalo Bills, the team the Eagles will host this weekend. On Wednesday, the three-time Pro Bowl selection spoke to members of the Philadelphia media via teleconference about his thoughts on returning to the city where his NFL life began.
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"I had a blast, man. I really did. The fans were excellent, my teammates, I played with some great players, learned from some great players," said McCoy, who has 792 yards rushing and five total touchdowns in 2015. "Being in that City of Philadelphia, the fans are cool and there's so much to do there, I really had a blast there. ... And the media's always good."
That last part, soaked in a thick coat of sarcasm, garnered a hearty swell of laughter from the reporters huddled in the media room at the NovaCare Complex.
McCoy has been a particularly outspoken player throughout his entire career, and after being traded by the Eagles during this past offseason he didn't do much to hide his displeasure about the situation. Most of his frustration was saved for head coach Chip Kelly, whom the 27-year-old credited with making the decision to deal him for linebacker Kiko Alonso.
But a good deal of time has passed since the trade back in March, and McCoy now says that there are no hard feelings between him, the Eagles and the third-year head coach.
"Chip, he showed me a lot. He's really smart, really smart, and he taught me different things, and it was a blast to play in his offense," he said. "I think (Kelly) said that he wanted somebody to fit for his style, more of a downhill runner. And I think that's why they got DeMarco (Murray). I think (Jeffrey) Lurie said that also, speaking for Chip."
McCoy expects a mixed response when he returns to Lincoln Financial Field on Sunday, but he's looking to put the past behind him and focus solely on the task at hand. He says it's a big game for him, but not because of any of the perceived theater surrounding the contest. His Bills (6-6) are currently one game out of an AFC Wild Card spot, and the Eagles (5-7) are currently tied for the division lead in the NFC East with four games left to play.