LeSean McCoy arrives at Bills camp motivated and focused
PITTSFORD, N.Y. (AP) Running back LeSean McCoy is approaching his second season in Buffalo with an intention to be better.
As a player. And a leader.
In his first news conference this offseason, McCoy said he came to that realization a year after a series of injuries severely hampered his production, and following a headline-grabbing brush with the law in Philadelphia.
''I've got lots to prove this year, you know,'' McCoy said Friday, a day before Buffalo opens training camp outside Rochester. ''A lot of people are doubting me and doubting this team, this offense. So I'm big into answering a lot of doubts.''
McCoy was reflective in discussing how relieved he was when no charges were filed against him following an investigation into his role in a nightclub brawl involving off-duty Philadelphia police officers in February. Prosecutors said they could not prove who initiated the fight in which two officers were injured. And they said it's legal for a person to act in self-defense or the defense of others.
Though noting he was proven right in saying he did nothing wrong, McCoy said he never should have put himself in what he called ''a bad situation.''
''As a leader, the guy that I want to be for this team, things like that just can't happen,'' McCoy said. ''I mean, you don't hear other guys like Peyton Manning or Tom Brady getting into incidents like that.''
As for his on-field performance, McCoy spent the offseason training to strengthen a body that showed signs of wearing down last year.
''Oh, man, I'll tell you what, I went back to that old `Rocky' mentality,'' McCoy said. ''I put all the Bentleys and Rolls-Royces away and got to work.''
Listing himself at 210 pounds, McCoy said that's the lightest he's been since 2010, his second season in the NFL.
''Oh man, I'm back,'' the 28-year-old McCoy said. ''I'm ready to get out there and perform and come here to do what they brought me here to do, and that's to make big plays.''
McCoy got off to a slow start after hurting his left hamstring in training camp last year. He later hurt his right shoulder and then missed the final two games because of a right knee injury.
He finished with 895 yards rushing and five touchdowns, including two receiving, in 12 games.
Though the Bills led the NFL in yards rushing last season, McCoy's production failed to meet expectations after Buffalo created a buzz by acquiring the league's 2013 rushing leader in a trade with the Eagles. It also didn't help that he caused a few distractions by voicing his displeasure with former Eagles coach Chip Kelly for trading him.
In May 2015, McCoy questioned whether Kelly's decision to trade him was racially motivated. In December, in the week leading up to Buffalo's game at Philadelphia, McCoy was blunt in saying he would not shake hands with his former coach.
Having never been traded, McCoy said, in retrospect, he didn't realize how much of an adjustment it would be in a new surrounding with new teammates.
''To be honest, that took some time mentally, but now I'm passed that,'' he said. ''I want to be the guy to lead the Buffalo Bills to where we need to go.''
McCoy was notably upbeat and vocal on the field in practice last spring. He would clap his hands and encourage teammates.
''Oh, I've been rolling,'' McCoy said during a brief interview with The Associated Press in June. ''It's my year.''
Asked why, he answered: ''That's the player I am.''
Bills coach Rex Ryan notices a difference in McCoy's approach.
''He doesn't want to put his team in a negative light, and I think he sees that,'' Ryan said, adding McCoy physically looks five years younger. ''I think he is motivated.''
McCoy is expected to get limited practice and playing time through training camp and the preseason to keep him fresh for the regular season.
''The goal is to get me healthy to the season,'' McCoy said. ''That's the main thing, and I can be the player that I was brought here to be.''
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