LeSean McCoy was voted into his first Pro Bowl, chosen as the starting running back on the NFC squad, and the first person he called was . . . Joe Banner?
"I said, 'I need a new contract,' " McCoy said.
He was joking, of course, but it won't be long before the Eagles president reaches out to McCoy and his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, to start negotiations on a contract extension that will keep the third-year tailback in Philadelphia for years to come.
McCoy, 23, headlined the Eagles' list of Pro Bowl invitees for 2011, announced Tuesday night. That list, selected by players, coaches, and fans, included left tackle Jason Peters and defensive end Jason Babin. The three were among the best at their respective positions, and even a disappointing Eagles season couldn't keep them out of the all-star game.
All three were voted in as starters. Defensive tackle Cullen Jenkins is a first alternate, and cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha was selected as a second alternate.
McCoy will start ahead of reserves Matt Forte of the Chicago Bears and Frank Gore of the San Francisco 49ers. He earned a spot over franchise running backs Adrian Peterson of Minnesota and Michael Turner of Atlanta.
"It means a lot, man, because I work hard for this stuff," McCoy said. "I worked hard to be one of the best backs in this conference."
Some day he will be paid as one. McCoy has one year remaining on his rookie contract, but the Eagles may want to lock him up long-term during the offseason. McCoy, a native of Harrisburg, said that he wants to remain an Eagle.
"I hope so. I'm a local guy. That plays a huge role in it," McCoy said during a Tuesday evening conference call with reporters. "I would love to be here."
He said later, "We have a lot of time to talk about contracts."
McCoy, as he rattled off reasons for wanting to stay, then endorsed coach Andy Reid, who once was believed to be on the hot seat.
"Andy Reid is one of the best coaches, best personalities - he works real hard," McCoy said. "A coach like that you want to play for."
Some, including McCoy, believed he should have been voted to the Pro Bowl last season when he led the NFC in yards from scrimmage.
"When I trained this offseason, that was one of the things that drove me," he said.
With one game remaining and 1,309 rushing yards, McCoy ranks second in the league behind Maurice Jones-Drew of Jacksonville (1,437). McCoy is first in rushing and total touchdowns with 17 and 20, and first in total first downs with 102.
His receiving numbers are down this season, but he has become a more complete runner, converting an NFL-best 12 of 16 third-and-one situations into first downs. Many of those first downs came from running behind Peters.
The 29-year-old tackle, making his fifth consecutive appearance in the Pro Bowl, had perhaps his best season. Peters flourished under new offensive line coach Howard Mudd, who has his athletic linemen initiate contact at the snap.
The 31-year-old Babin's career revival continued with his second straight Pro Bowl invite. The defensive end, who bounced around the league through the first six years of his career, has become a sack machine under the guidance of defensive line coach Jim Washburn.
"Obviously, making it for the first time at my age, there was a lot of 'one-year wonder,' 'one-trick pony,' It's a fluke, you can't do it again next year,' " Babin said. "So I felt even more pressure."
Babin's 18 sacks are tied for second in the league. Last season in Tennessee he set a then-career mark of 121/2 sacks.
Though a 7-8 record probably didn't warrant extra invitations to the Pro Bowl, arguments could have been made for several other Eagles.
Jenkins, also signed as a free agent, got off to a strong start but waned down the stretch. Asomugha, the Eagles' biggest addition this season, struggled in a new system and missed out on his fourth straight Pro Bowl.
Todd Herremans flawlessly moved from left guard to right tackle and was responsible for protecting quarterback Michael Vick's blind side. Left guard Evan Mathis was signed in late July amid a free-agent-signing flurry and went into camp virtually unnoticed. But he stepped in for Herremans without missing a beat.
Safety Colt Anderson stood out on special teams for most of the season, but he suffered a season-ending knee injury in early December. Defensive end Trent Cole, a two-time Pro Bowler, recorded 10 sacks in 13 games. And cornerback Asante Samuel was left off the Pro Bowl roster for the first time since 2006.
The game will be played Jan. 29 in Honolulu, a week before the Super Bowl.