A decade after he left Penn State ranked ninth on the school's alltime rushing list, Eric (Choo Choo) McCoo is still playing on Sundays. The 31-year-old was picked up two years ago by the Legion of Doom, a team that plays Sunday mornings in the lowest level of a three-tier flag football league in Bolingbrook, Ill. "My body doesn't function like it used to, but I always find myself in the right position because of my background," McCoo says. "Not many people know that I played in the NFL."
His career was easy to miss. A practice-squad player for the Eagles in 2004, McCoo was put on the active roster for the season finale after fullback Thomas Tapeh suffered a dislocated hip. As Philadelphia rested its starters for the playoffs, McCoo carried the ball nine times for 54 yards—his first handoff went up the gut for 11—and caught two passes for 15 yards in a 38--10 loss to the Bengals. It would be the only NFL game McCoo played. "I accomplished something just by being there," he says. "I beat the odds."
McCoo, an undrafted rookie in 2002, was among the last players cut at the Bears' training camp. But he remained in Chicago to work for Peapod, a home-delivery grocery service. Lugging as many as 30 cases of soda up several flights of stairs helped him stay in shape as he crisscrossed the country for tryouts, but he didn't make enough tips to keep up with the lifestyle that his Bears friends were living. "It was humbling," McCoo says. "I'd ask them: Can we just hang out at your house?"
But his perseverance paid off. Philadelphia signed McCoo to its scout team at the end of the 2003 season, then shipped him off to NFL Europe, where he won the 2004 World Bowl with the Berlin Thunder. He was the game's MVP.
July 9, 2012
That fall, after his one-game appearance, the Eagles kept him on the 53-man roster during their Super Bowl run, and he was awarded an NFC championship ring.
McCoo was forced to give up football—at least the tackle version—in 2005 because of chronic knee pain. He is now a customer-service supervisor at Molex, an international corporation headquartered outside Chicago that manufactures connectors for use in electronics. "There are guys who play for so many years in the league and never get an opportunity to be in that Super Bowl atmosphere," McCoo says. "What else could you ask for, besides winning it?"