RYAN MATHEWS is back.

LeSean McCoy is coming to town.

And DeMarco Murray is still here, though Murray did not want to talk to reporters Tuesday after dropping a new plot twist into the coming weekend's already-rich drama - a twist that offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur clearly did not appreciate.

The Eagles host the Buffalo Bills Sunday, and it seems likely they will have Mathews, their most effective runner, back from concussion limbo as they face McCoy, the franchise's all-time leading rusher, for the first time since trading him away last March.

Then there's Murray, signed for $40 million over five years to more or less replace McCoy; nobody really knows what his role will be, after Murray took the field for just 14 snaps at New England and expressed discontent with his role to Eagles chairman Jeffrey Lurie, on the flight home from the game that the Eagles hope saved their season, no less, according to ESPN reporter Ed Werder:

Shurmur didn't issue any reassurances about Murray's role, and Shurmur was not overjoyed to have his first media session since the New England game dominated by questions about the care and feeding of Murray.

"We won a football game the other night against a really fine opponent, and he contributed to the game, and that's the reality of it," Shurmur said. "There should be some joy in that, at least for a few hours, until we get back to Philly on our flight from Providence."

Ouch.

As Shurmur was delivering this, just before noon, Werder hadn't yet tweeted the detail about the Lurie-Murray meeting having occurred on the Philly-bound plane, so none of the reporters sitting in front of Shurmur completely grasped what he was saying.

Asked his evaluation of Murray, three months into the season, Shurmur said: "We're going to do everything we can to get ready to play Buffalo, and he's contributing - he helped contribute to a win the other night, just like the three weeks prior, we all contributed to losing. But we found a way to win against a really fine opponent . . . all the 46 guys that were in the game and competed helped us do it, period. Beyond that evaluation, I don't know why it matters."

Asked if coaches explained the lack of action to Murray, Shurmur said you "put the guys in the game that will help us win the football game . . . we feel good about all the guys being in there."

Shurmur called McCoy "an outstanding player here for a very long time," and said he would shake his hand before the game and wish him well. McCoy has 792 yards on 143 carries, 4.6 yards per carry.

McCoy said Tuesday on 94WIP that he stood by criticisms of Chip Kelly he made after the trade to Buffalo, including his observation that Kelly "got rid of all the good black players," but that he has "no issue with Chip."

Unlike Murray, it would seem.

Murray declined comment Tuesday, telling reporters he would speak on Thursday, the day usually designated for him to deal with the media. Asked if he didn't want to clear the air sooner than that, Murray had no response.

Murray's 163 carries and 569 rushing yards are tops among the Eagles, though his 3.5 yards-per-carry average is worse than that of the team's other running backs - Mathews (75 for 427, 5.7), Darren Sproles (62 for 234, 3.8) and Kenjon Barner (23 for 106, 4.6).

Most interesting here is that news of Murray going to Lurie came from Werder, a Dallas-based reporter with excellent sources among current and former Cowboys, their agents and friends. It seems clear someone from Murray's camp thought it was a good idea for the world to know Murray was dissatisfied, and that he had taken his dissatisfaction to Lurie, bypassing Kelly.

In this light, the notation at the end of Werder's first tweet on the subject Tuesday - that Murray "doesn't want to cause scene" - seems almost poignant.

Werder then tweeted: "DeMarco Murray is competitive, high-character player who must feel abilities are not being used fully and promises not fulfilled. In tough spot."

Werder's third tweet clarified that the meeting took place on the plane - his ESPN.com story said Murray and Lurie were sitting together - rather than in the Eagles' offices. Werder's story said it wasn't clear who initiated the conversation.

Knowing how Kelly has dealt with less-than-happy-campers in the past - see Evan Mathis, et al. - it is quite possible the Murray camp is trying to lay the groundwork for release or trade in 2016, which seems unlikely to happen, given that it will cost the Eagles $13 million of dead money on their cap to release Murray next year or $4 million to trade him, vs. the $7 million they are scheduled to pay him.

It could just be that Murray, who spent his first four NFL seasons in Dallas with Jerry Jones, honestly thinks that going over the coach's head to the owner is the thing to do when you're upset. Or that he thinks legions of fans are going to rise up and force the Eagles to give him the ball, an outcome even more implausible than the $13 million release.

Whatever the hoped-for outcome, this weekend Eagles fans presumably will get to judge for themselves whether using McCoy's 2015 money on Murray and Mathews was a good move by Kelly.

"My legs were a little rusty, but I was happy," Mathews said after his first practice since he suffered a concussion Nov. 15 against Miami. A source close to the situation said Mathews has been able to work out without symptoms for a while, but he wasn't able to pass baseline testing until Monday. Then he was cleared by an independent neurologist Tuesday, in time for practice.

"I want to get back out there and inspire all of my teammates," Mathews said. "I've got to take it slow. I haven't played and run and done stuff in a few weeks. I've just got to try and break it in."

Asked how much he wants to get back to playing, Mathews said: "Bad. Bad."

Was there any uncertainty, as the weeks went by, Mathews still not able to practice or play?

"No, the training staff was on it - they did a great job," he said.

"It's the speed" that's the hardest part of getting back in the flow, he said. "It's amazing how the speed can change and how fast it is," Mathews said. "You take a few days off, a week off, a couple of weeks off and come back and it's fast. You've just got to get the timing down and get your legs back under you."

On Twitter: @LesBowen