Dressed in a dark blue suit with a grey checkered vest, running back LeSean McCoy held “Go Birds” notecards as he took his seat at a microphone at the Eagles NovaCare Complex. The future Hall of Famer — at least, almost assuredly in the Philadelphia Eagles Hall of Fame — signed a one year deal with the team that drafted him to announce his official NFL retirement.
Here’s what the Eagles legend had to say:
“Thank you everyone for coming out. I appreciate it, all the media. I want to thank my savior Jesus Christ for letting this day possible, my career, everything I’ve done through Him. I would like to thank my family. My Dad who has been special to me. Since I’ve been a little boy, he’s showed me what hard work and dedication were to get you. He was always the head of the house and showed me how to be a true man, and how to treat his wife and his kids. I want to thank my brother, he’s probably been my biggest role model in my life, the good things, bad things, what to do, what not to do. I’m so blessed to have him. And then, my Mom. My Mom’s the rock of the family, and I’m so thankful for her. She’s been great to me, and any issues I have, she’s always finding the solution, so I want to thank her. My beautiful kids, Cassius, LeSean Jr., both McCoys, they brighten up my day.
I just want to take some time to reflect on my career here as an Eagle. I think one of my biggest moments in my career was getting a phone call in Harrisburg from Andy Reid, that was something special. Playing ball in Pittsburgh, and high school in Harrisburg, getting a call from the Eagles — a kid that, they said I was small, had a teenage body frame, how would I transition to the NFL. I remember my first training camp — my first training camp, I seen Donovan McNabb and Brian Westbrook, and I’m like, ‘Holy shit’. I remember the guys on the posters on my wall, and they would be — I remember watching the Chunky Soup commercials, to in actual reality, playing with them. That was something that was special to me. It was amazing to be part of that.
As I fast forward and, Ted Williams, my first running backs coach, he was so much older than I was and aside from football, he was teaching me just about how to be a professional. I just thought it was running and catching, and playing ball.
Duce Staley is another one I want to give a big shoutout to, because Duce kind of got the best out of me. I think he really showed me how to be competitive as a running back. A lot of my teammates, I won’t name every teammate I played here, but a lot of them — a lot of my best friends are actually still playing on the Eagles and guys are retired.
I want to thank Mr. Lurie and his family for always being good to me. When I was here, when I wasn’t here, staying in contact, and being good to me. Also Howie [Roseman], Howie’s been excellent helping draft me and getting me here, and even when we were trying to get the trade done in Buffalo — which they didn’t do, but we tried. I want to thank this franchise, man, for letting a kid chase his dreams.”
“Now that this time has come,” McCoy said while holding back tears. “I had some opportunities this year to continue my career, and I just felt like the time was right.”
He went on to say that he didn’t like the offers he got, and the only team he would come back for — other than a Super Bowl contender — would be for the Eagles. He was happy and content and had a good run in the league.
McCoy went on to explain that some guys try and chase numbers, and while he’d like some more, his kids are getting older and he was heading into his 13th season, so it was just time. He could’ve waited, but chose the week when Andy Reid was set to come to Philly with the Chiefs to play the Eagles. He still has a great relationship with Reid and the Chiefs front office as well, so he’s excited to see everyone on Sunday and he knows that the atmosphere in The Linc will be rocking for such a big matchup.
On what he wants his legacy to be in Philly
“A guy who loved the game. I remember we had years when we were 4-12, and I remember still hyping myself up, like ‘I gotta go out there and produce,’ where some guys didn’t feel like that. I always wanted to showcase, display a certain attitude that I loved the game and I take it very serious, and that’s something I want to be remembered as.
And also, I want to be remembered as the best running back to ever — ever — play as a Philadelphia Eagle. I wish it lasted longer. I feel like the rushing record of yards, could’ve been even bigger, and I could’ve been there for them that Championship run.
But legacy-wise, just a true Philadelphia Eagle player who gave it all he had every game, who loved his teammates, who shared that same compassion and competitive nature, like the fans.”
On his favorite games as an Eagle
McCoy admitted he loved the Snow Bowl game, and it was a big game for him, but he also pointed to his first touchdown against the Chiefs in 2009, and then Giants game when the Eagles came back to win. He explained that he didn’t get a lot of carries that game because they threw a lot coming from behind, but he had some key blocks. The RB said that people don’t talk about that part of his game often, but that was his thing and he didn’t mind blocking big guys.
On his only regret
The RB joked that his PR person didn’t want him to answer this question, but his biggest regret is not being an Eagle in his prime. He explained that when he was traded, he felt he was one of the top guys with the team — maybe second to Jason Peters — and likened it to Larry Fitzgerald with the Cardinals, no matter what era you look at, he was with the team. McCoy felt like if he had a couple more years with the Eagles, around the 10th season, he would have that same type of connection to the team’s legacy.