PHILADELPHIA – LeSean McCoy had offers to keep adding to a resume that will generate plenty of Hall of Fame conversation when the time comes but, he said, he didn't want to be a numbers-chaser.
The only team he wanted to play for again was the team that drafted him in 2009, the Philadelphia Eagles.
That wasn’t to be, so McCoy did the next big thing in his opinion. He retired as an Eagle.
At 33, McCoy talked about his decision, reflected on his 12 seasons in the league, and looked ahead during a 20-minute news conference on Friday, just off the playing field at Lincoln Financial Field, where he carved up plenty of defenses during his six years with the Eagles.
In a conversation with his mom in reaching the decision, McCoy told her that he would return to play only for the Eagles.
“If it was the Birds, that was it,” he told her. “I was at that point. I’m happy, I’m content. I had a good run, good run, had some good times, some bad times, but we always got back up. I’m thankful to even have this opportunity.”
McCoy will be honored at halftime of Sunday’s game between the Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs at the Linc, and fittingly so, since it was Chiefs head coach Andy Reid who played a big role in developing McCoy after the Eagles spent a second-round pick on McCoy in 2009, keeping the RB in his home state.
McCoy played high school in Harrisburg at Bishop McDevitt then went to the University of Pittsburgh.
“I think one of my biggest moments in my career was getting a phone call in Harrisburg from Andy Reid,” said McCoy. “That was something special. Playing ball in Pittsburgh and in high school, Harrisburg, and getting a call from the Eagles, a kid that they said I was small and had a teenage body frame, how would I transition to the NFL?”
He transitioned just fine.
Despite being the fourth running back picked in 2009, behind Knowshon Moreno, Donald Brown, and Chris Wells, McCoy went on to become the franchise’s all-time leading rusher with 6,792 yards.
He was a two-time All-Pro.
In 2011, he set the Eagles’ single-season touchdown record with 20, two more than Hall of Famer Steve Van Buren. In 2013, he led the NFL in rushing with 1,607 yards, which is the best single-season mark in team history.
One of his most memorable games was played in a Philadelphia blizzard, on Dec. 13, 2013, when he ran for a team-record 217 yards against the Detroit Lions.
In 2014, and with Chip Kelly as the head coach, he was traded to Buffalo for linebacker Kiko Alonso. McCoy was still in his prime, at the age of 26.
“I think the only regret I truly have is not being an Eagle in my prime,” he said. “At the time, when I got traded, I felt I was probably one of the top, second, guy other than (left tackle) Jason Peters.
“I was still hot when we parted. That’s one thing that I always regret, that I always should have been an Eagle for my career and the majority of my prime years … I feel like my prime, I should have been an Eagle.”
McCoy added another 3,814 yards rushing and 25 touchdowns in four seasons with the Bills, before playing one season with the Chiefs and one more with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. At both stops, he won Super Bowl rings, though he wasn’t an integral part of either team’s offense.
“I hadn’t played in any of the Super Bowls, right?” he said. “And most players would be upset, ‘I didn’t get to contribute.’ But as I got older, I had to contribute in different ways.
“It was more teaching young guys, more explaining to them because physically, I could have went out there and did my thing.”
McCoy said he would dabble in real estate with his brother and broadcasting but said that he would consider returning in either a coaching role or advisory capacity with the Eagles, much the same way former Eagles Darren Sproles, Brent Celek, and Connor Barwin have done with Philadelphia.
His career closes with numbers that may land him in the Hall of Fame someday.
He ran for 11,102 with 73 touchdowns and 4.5 yards per carry.
He caught 518 passes for 3,898 and 16 touchdowns.
And he was a member of the NFL’s all-decade team of the 2010s.
“I hope I do…I don’t know,” said McCoy when asked about his Hall of Fame resume. “I think that I have the numbers. I look at a lot of the guys that go in. I think that I’ll just say I feel like I’m just as good as some of them guys. Anything you need to get in there, Super Bowls – I got a lot of stats if you want to do that game.
“And then I think it’s very important to discuss players and their time. How did you compete with other guys? And I was one of the best players of the decade and that was already documented. So hopefully I’ll get in. We’ll see. That would definitely be amazing, and a great accomplishment if that happens, for sure.”
Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Eagle Maven and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles or www.eaglemaven.com and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.