Preparations for the 2014 Pro Bowl are well underway as the players are in their routine here. The practices are without pads and are conducted at a comfortable tempo. Yes, there is purpose, as the players are giving plays and expected to run through them with precision.
But for the most part, the work has been about making sure the players are on the same page with the simple game plan, and making sure the fans are having a great time.
To that end, it is clear that LeSean McCoy is one of the most popular players here. Chants of "Shady, Shady" are abundant. His outgoing personality, along with his game-breaking skills, are clearly welcomed. And it makes you wonder: Just how popular will his brand become?
McCoy's jersey sales aren't listed among the NFL's top 10 list, one filled with quarterbacks and players from the Super Bowl-participating Seattle Seahawks. Of the top 10 best-selling jerseys, according to NFLShop.com, Minnesota running back Adrian Peterson, Seattle running back Marshawn Lynch and Seattle cornerback Richard Sherman are the only non-quarterbacks in sales dating back to April 1, 2013.
McCoy is a great candidate to crack that list after leading the NFL in rushing yards and total yards from scrimmage in 2013, combined with the Eagles' return to the postseason.
None of that, though, resonates with McCoy, who has the boyish charm and innocence of self promotion that makes him so endearing.
"Really, man, all I'm thinking about is having a great time here, enjoying the week, and then getting ready for the season and being back with my teammates," said McCoy. "We came so close last year. I can't wait to get it started again. I think we're going to be a better team. We learned a lot last year. We learned how to win. Now we have to take it even farther. We have to start fast and finish strong."
When is the last time an Eagles player was a top-selling jersey? Michael Vick made a splash in 2010. DeSean Jackson has always sold jerseys, but not to the level of the top 10. Donovan McNabb, way back a decade ago, was the guy, along with wide receiver Terrell Owens for that memorable season of 2004.
McCoy is next in line, whether he cares or not.
"I can't believe all of these Eagles fans are here," he said. "It's great. They're having fun and we're having fun. That's what the Pro Bowl is all about."
- Not that there were pads and I'm not pretending that a Pro Bowl practice resembles in any way a regular-season game, or even a preseason game, but quarterback Nick Foles looks great here. He's comfortable, he's accurate and he's very quick with his footwork and delivery. "I'm just having fun," he said. "I'm just soaking it all in. It's sort of surreal. The fans are tremendous and there are a lot of Eagles fans here and it's great. It was a blast today. I was getting my legs back under me and throwing it around out there after taking a couple of weeks off. You try to just get things going again. It was fun to be out here. I've got DJack on my team so it's fun to sling it to him."
- Speaking of Jackson, he has every intention of enjoying himself in this Pro Bowl game. How will he play the game? He has an answer. "Get 10 the ball. Let me win that car for being the MVP," he said. "I've got some relationships with some of the coaches so I've been talking to them about making sure I have some touchdowns, get a lot of passes and do my thing. That's all I really know. I bring energy to the field. That's what I'm going to do on Sunday."
- Great showing of Eagles love all week here. Eagles fans are representing in a big way. It's wonderful to see so many on the streets and at practice.
- I always remember hearing how McNabb recruited players for free agency and I see how it could happen. You understand that, beyond everything else, the NFL is a fraternity. It's a very close bond between players and players here spend a lot of time with players they don't see socially during the season. Makes one wonder what is happening behind closed doors here ...