FOXBORO, Mass. -- LeSean McCoy wants to rush for 2,000 yards, because, as he said on Wednesday morning at Gillette Stadium, "Who doesn't?" We all laughed.
The truth is, McCoy is right. Every running back wants to rush for 2,000 yards even though averaging 5.0 yards on 400 carries sounds daunting and ridiculous and, in this day and age of rotating backfields and situation substitutions almost impossible to attain. But, see, McCoy admitted that when he put forth the quest for 2,000 yards -- via Twitter, of course -- it was part goal and part promotion with Bounce For Men, the "potential enhancing dryer sheets."
How can you not enjoy what McCoy has going on right now? He's right up there with the very best running backs in the league after pacing the NFL in rushing yards and total yards from scrimmage in 2013 and he's having an absolute blast.
"I have fun with it," said McCoy, talking about his "Quest for 2,000 yards" and the surrounding promotional aspect of the drive. "I'm blessed to be with the type of team like this and the scheme to get the ball, catch and run, I'm surrounded by good players like (Nick) Foles, (Jeremy) Maclin and (Darren) Sproles, so the ball is going to be spread around a lot, so 2,000 is going to be tough. I'm having fun with it. I let the media and all the fans, they really react to it. For fantasy (football) people.
"But the main thing is winning. That's really what I want to do. That's the main goal. Last year I was successful and productive and we were still winning. The main goal is always winning. I just like to have fun with it."
So refreshing. Watching McCoy wade through the rain on Wednesday in the joint practice with the Patriots was like watching a young boy stomp puddles on the sidewalk. There was joy in his work.
This is part of what makes McCoy what he is. He has the natural ability, of course, and he works hard to perfect his craft, yes, but more than all of that is the mirth with which he plays. He has fun being a Philadelphia Eagle and that energy translates to his success on the field and his enormous popularity off.
McCoy is in the prime of his career and is pushing himself toward greater goals. He is the focal point of an offense that is multi-optioned, so if gaining 50 yards is what it takes to win a game, so be it.
That said, McCoy is earnest when he goes out every day to improve his craft. It's his mission.
"So many things I can get better at," said McCoy, who said "I did not play to my potential today," in practice because he wasn't perfect in two of his four reps in pass protection. "Sometimes I get wrapped up in my God-given abilities instead of just actually doing the fundamental things. Reading my keys. The small things that you can get away with because you have that natural talent. But sometimes if you let the play develop and then use the other stuff, it makes me better.
"I can name different things. Ball security. I don't fumble the ball much, but I'm trying to limit the ball being out (away from my body) so much. There are so many things, and I know that. A lot of players, they hide it because they get to a certain level where they feel like they're so good they hide it. I don't hide it. If I have a bad game, I sit here and tell you guys I had a bad game.
"I want to be elite all the time. Not just on Sundays. Every day."
There is the silly side of McCoy and there is the serious side, and the mix adds up to a running back who, should he continue his pace during the prime of his career, will easily go down as the most productive running back in the history of the franchise and a Pro Bowl player year after year. He says that head coach Chip Kelly "pushes me to the max more than any coach I've been around," and McCoy understands that it's done to bring out the best in him.
He embraces the work. He embraces the challenge of being the best he can be.
So if he has a few laughs along the way, and genuinely enjoys himself, why not laugh along with him?
The 2,000 yards? Now that he's set the goal, and made it public, what happens if he gets it? What happens if he doesn't?
"If I get it, it's good. If I don't, I don't," he said. "One thing I've learned is that in this game, they're paid the same way. The way we're drawing up plays for us to be successful, the defense is drawing up plays to have us not be successful. There are good players on the other side, so we'll find out.
"I do a lot of joking with a lot of things. I didn't know it would be this big of a deal. I'm just having fun. If I get it, I do. Winning is my main objective. What player wouldn't want to reach 2,000 yards? If I get 50 yards and Foles throws for 400 and we win, that's all that matters."