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No more anger: LeSean McCoy on life after the Eagles

LeSean McCoy isn't angry anymore. It has been nine months since Chip Kelly traded the Eagles' all-time leading rusher. It has been a month or two less than that since McCoy was critical of his former coach and questioned his motivations for parting with the Pro Bowl running back and other notable former Eagles.

LeSean McCoy isn't angry anymore. It has been nine months since Chip Kelly traded the Eagles' all-time leading rusher. It has been a month or two less than that since McCoy was critical of his former coach and questioned his motivations for parting with the Pro Bowl running back and other notable former Eagles.

But McCoy, in a phone interview with The Inquirer on the eve of his return to Philadelphia to face his former team and the coach who dealt him to the Bills, said that time has helped heal some of the wounds.

"I don't have no issue with him. There's no problem. I don't hate him. It's nothing like that," McCoy said of Kelly on Tuesday. "It's just that he wants things done a certain way. He doesn't care about the player and how he feels about it. He's the coach, so I guess I can understand that type of thinking.

"Maybe I'm just different. Certain things I might ask him or talk to him about - he's probably not used to. We ain't like best friends or that, but we're no enemies."

McCoy said he still hasn't spoken to Kelly since March 10, the day he was traded to Buffalo for linebacker Kiko Alonso. Kelly had said that he and running backs coach Duce Staley had tried to call him after the trade. But McCoy has spoken only to Staley since.

He said he still talks to running back Darren Sproles and other former teammates. And he still keeps a close eye on the team. But McCoy said he hasn't found joy in the Eagles' losing ways, even though his primary replacement, DeMarco Murray, has struggled and was recently demoted.

"I have people texting me, 'Hey, man, the Eagles lost.' I don't get no type of satisfaction from that because I still have friends on that team," McCoy said. "And the good thing is we're not in the same division, so it doesn't really matter if they win or lose to me."

But it will matter on Sunday when the Eagles host the Bills at 1 p.m. McCoy will be the enemy. Many Eagles fans turned on him after the trade and after he said to The Inquirer in April that Kelly didn't like or respect the stars on the team - e.g. McCoy, DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin - skill-position players who were no longer Eagles.

A month later, McCoy was quoted in an ESPN story as saying Kelly got rid of "all the good black players." Kelly has said race had nothing to do with his decisions.

"I don't know how it will go Sunday but I got all respect for them," McCoy said of Eagles fans. "My years I was there, they were real loyal to me. I've got nothing but love for them. But we'll see how it happens."

Eagles fans have serenaded former players, such as Brian Dawkins and Donovan McNabb, who have returned wearing different uniforms. But when the game starts, all bets were off. Stopping McCoy, who might be the hottest running back in the NFL, will be paramount for the 5-7 Eagles.

"I know he's having a good year," Kelly said on Monday before he said he had a chance to watch Bills film. "I know he's the focal point of their offense and we have to do a good job of team tackling against him because, obviously, seeing him in person and knowing him, he's going to make the first guy miss, sometimes the second guy miss."
McCoy got off to a slow start in Buffalo, but he played through a hamstring injury. He eventually missed almost three games. But since returning, he has been electric. He has rushed for 646 yards and three touchdowns in seven games and is averaging 5.0 yards a carry.

"Shady's on top of it right now," Eagles defensive coordinator Bill Davis said Tuesday. "He's peaking."

The Eagles' run game, meanwhile, has been up and down all season - mostly down whenever Murray has gotten the ball. He is averaging just 3.5 yards a rush - McCoy's season average is 4.6 - and saw fewer carries than Sproles and Kenjon Barner on Sunday against the Patriots.

Neither Kelly nor offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur has said that Murray will return to being the primary ballcarrier. Ryan Mathews, who had been outperforming Murray before suffering a concussion, is also expected to return this week.

As much as Kelly and others claimed that Murray's "one-cut, north-south" running style would be better suited to the Eagles offense, he hasn't looked in sync all season.

"I will say this: I think Chip knows what type of back he wants because he's been running that offense since Oregon," McCoy said. "It's not my call to say, 'I'm the guy or DeMarco is.' I can't answer that. I will say about DeMarco, I think he's a good player. He finishes his runs really hard."

Murray, who led the NFL in rushing last season, has eclipsed 100 yards in only one of 11 games this season. McCoy has topped the century mark in three of his last five games.

"I don't really compare myself to him. He's got his game, and I got my game," McCoy said. "I think before I was so worried about it. In the beginning after the trade with all the talk between me and him. I look at it now and I'm not really worried about it. I want to get some wins and get to the playoffs."

McCoy said that it took a while to get over leaving Philadelphia after six seasons. He passed Wilbert Montgomery for the Eagles record in career rushing yards last season and ended up with 6,792 yards.

"I don't want to say I was bitter, but I was pissed and angry," McCoy said. "I was really surprised. I was like, 'Yo, what?' Because I hadn't really heard anything about it. I didn't see it coming at all. At first, I was definitely angry. I think anybody would be mad at the time. But as time went on, it was fine with me. It was cool. It's a business."

McCoy said that talking with Maclin, Jackson and, recently, former Eagles coach Andy Reid helped him get over the anger.

"We played the Chiefs and I talked to Coach Reid for a while after the game. And he was like, he understands why a lot of guys were kind of frustrated," McCoy said. "And I'm more vocal than anybody. That's probably why they heard more from me than anybody else.

"He said he was understanding the frustration because you go somewhere and then you're so used to the environment. ... You're just so used to everything. You try to build up your legacy and then you leave. You're like, 'Dang.' "

McCoy said he comes back to Philly often. He still has a home here and, of course, friends. He still has fans, too.
"I see how the fans are in Philadelphia. I like them. They're true fans. They may like players, but they're so loyal to the franchise and that's how it should be," McCoy said. "I'm used to them yelling, screaming, hollering, but maybe booing here and there. But I know how they are as true fans."