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McCoy about to break Eagles' record

In the running backs' meeting room, Duce Staley shows his players clips of past Eagles runners. They might identify a uniform number and recall a certain run, but they don't usually know the names.

Eagles running back LeSean McCoy. (Ron Cortes/Staff Photographer)
Eagles running back LeSean McCoy. (Ron Cortes/Staff Photographer)Read more

In the running backs' meeting room, Duce Staley shows his players clips of past Eagles runners. They might identify a uniform number and recall a certain run, but they don't usually know the names.

LeSean McCoy knows the names. McCoy has studied the top rushers to play in Philadelphia, and he has relationships with some of them. On Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks, McCoy could surpass Wilbert Montgomery to become the leading rusher in Eagles history. He needs 48 yards to eclipse Montgomery's 6,538 yards.

"He'll be considered, when it's all said and done, the greatest back to ever play [for the Eagles]," said Staley, the fifth-leading rusher in franchise history and the Eagles' running backs coach.

McCoy entered this season at No. 4 after passing Staley last season. He has topped Steve Van Buren and Brian Westbrook this season. Montgomery has held the record since 1984, when he broke Van Buren's mark from 1951. McCoy said he never could have imagined holding the rushing record when he was drafted by the Eagles in 2009.

"It means a lot, [with] the guys on the list and to have the opportunity to pass them and be the No. 1 guy," McCoy said. "It's something I really want to accomplish."

McCoy was introduced to Montgomery after he was drafted. He considers Montgomery a friend and said he "got word that he's actually happy" McCoy could set the mark.

Montgomery, now the Cleveland Browns' running backs coach, declined an interview request.

McCoy remembered breaking Tony Dorsett's records at the University of Pittsburgh and how gracious Dorsett was. McCoy said that's how players should be - wanting the next generation to be better.

What's remarkable about what McCoy is accomplishing is that he's still in his prime. He turned 26 in July. If he breaks the record on Sunday, McCoy would do it in 13 fewer games than Montgomery and two fewer seasons. Staley said "there's no doubt" that McCoy could put the record out of reach.

Staley and Westbrook are the two top running backs on the list with whom McCoy is closest. Staley is tough on McCoy - the player calls it a "big brother, little brother" relationship - and McCoy has absolute trust in his position coach. Staley took over the role last season, and McCoy said Staley has allowed him to reach a level that he did not think he had.

"He's always trying to get me better," McCoy said. "When I feel I'm at a certain point where I feel I've arrived, he's always pushing me even more."

When Staley offers some tough coaching during meetings, McCoy likes to tease him. Staley might tell McCoy about missing a cut or a hole. McCoy will remind Staley that he has already surpassed him on the franchise rushing list. Staley tells McCoy that the jab only acknowledges Staley's achievements.

"It's unbelievable to be in those shoes right now," Staley said of McCoy. "And to be in [Chip Kelly's] offense, where he knows how much we run the ball. When you look at how he's built, the frame that he's in, he can handle 25-30 carries for a game."

McCoy might need a good chunk of carries on Sunday, because it's not a given that he breaks the mark. He has fallen shy of 48 yards in three games this season, although his early-season struggles seem to be behind him. McCoy averaged 125.7 yards during the last three games, and the offensive line has stabilized. Seattle has the No. 5 rush defense in the NFL and keeps opposing teams to 86.3 yards per game.

Although it's likely to come on Sunday, only an injury would prevent it from happening eventually. From that point, McCoy would continue adding to his record and creating history.

He is 26 rushing touchdowns behind Van Buren. He's No. 71 on the NFL's all-time rushing list, although he's the youngest of the 13 active players in the top 100. However he finishes, McCoy has already become a player future running backs will watch as they pursue their own records.

"That's what this game is about: for records to be broken," McCoy said.


Outside linebacker Connor Barwin was named NFC defensive player of the month for November. He won AFC defensive player of the month in November 2011. . . . Tight end Trey Burton (hamstring) and kicker Cody Parkey (right groin) were limited Thursday at practice.