THE BEST WAY to shut Shady up?
Beat Shady up.
LeSean McCoy's departure from Philadelphia spurred him to accuse coach/general manager Chip Kelly of racism. Given several chances, McCoy stood by his statements.
Not only did he spew vitriol during the week in Buffalo, McCoy also represented the Bills in the weekly conference call, a task usually assigned to the quarterback. He called in to two local radio shows - unprecedented behavior for a player in McCoy's position.
He went out of his way to let it be known that Kelly did him dirty, and he couldn't wait to exact revenge.
McCoy and the Bills lost, 23-20, on Sunday. They fell to 6-7 and have only the breath of a prayer at the AFC playoffs.
McCoy, typically, ignored his former teammates and ran off the field alone as soon as the clock expired. Taunts cascaded down upon him as he entered the tunnel.
He finished with 74 rushing yards on 20 carries, 35 receiving yards on four catches. He did not score. He gained 11 yards on eight carries after halftime.
The most poignant moment of the afternoon came with 6 minutes, 50 seconds to play with the game tied at 20 and the ball at the Bills' 20. Fletcher Cox burst into the backfield and dropped McCoy for a 10-yard loss, then punctuated the tackle with a two-handed shove into McCoy's back while McCoy was down. McCoy's helmeted face was thrust into the turf. He actually curled up into a fetal position.
McCoy was just as weak after the game. He dressed, turned to a throng of 40 reporters, and mumbled:
"Hey ya'll. I don't got nothing to say."
That's a switch.
You see, McCoy's mouth is even faster than his feet. He is the most shameless self-promoter since Deion Sanders. He spent his first three seasons in Philadelphia claiming to be a top-five back in the league, then spent the last three proving it. However, his abrasive personality and his embarrassing off-field shenanigans (not to mention his $11.9 million salary-cap hit for 2015) did not suit Kelly's famous culture, so Kelly traded him to Buffalo for injured linebacker Kiko Alonso.
No doubt, McCoy is better than the three-back attack that replaced him. Injuries and predictability have combined to make DeMarco Murray, Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles little more than respectable.
McCoy himself was barely that Sunday . . . not that he didn't seek attention.
Bills coach Rex Ryan, notorious for assigning provocative captaincies, not only made McCoy a captain for Sunday, he made him the only captain.
"I was, like, where's everybody else?" said Eagles corner and special-teams captain Eric Rowe.
McCoy strode to midfield like a gunslinger at high noon, to no appreciable crowd reaction.
Then he knelt . . . and kissed the Eagles emblem.
Now, that elicited a response. Boos erupted from every corner of Lincoln Financial Field. They got louder after the coin flip because, after the coin flip, McCoy refused to engage the Eagles captains. McCoy sort of waved at Jason Kelce, Fletcher Cox and Rowe as he jogged back to his sideline.
Handshakes were the big topic all week, considering McCoy could not muster that modest measure of respect for Kelly because, he said, Kelly disrespected McCoy. To review:
Kelly this winter said McCoy's agent told the Eagles that McCoy would not restructure his contract. McCoy claims the Eagles never offered to restructure his contract. Regardless, the Eagles began shopping McCoy without McCoy's knowledge - an unforgivable slight to McCoy. A deal quickly came together with the Bills, which McCoy learned of after it had already been widely reported. Outraged, McCoy has since refused any communication with Kelly.
Kelly last week glibly offered to shake McCoy's hand before the game. McCoy brashly declined.
"Chip can't shake (expletive)," McCoy vowed. McCoy did not specify what, besides his hand, Chip might like to shake.
As expected, McCoy's mouth didn't stop during the game.
McCoy briefly beefed with Malcolm Jenkins midway through the first quarter. McCoy shoved Cox in the chest after Cox stopped a short run and said something to McCoy.
"There was no conversation," Cox lied.
McCoy had his moments. He tore off a 24-yard run in the second quarter that led to a field goal, and had three 7-yard runs in the first quarter that kept the Eagles honest.
In the second half, though, the Eagles' committed to not over-pursuing McCoy, which limited him to nearly nothing. Mychal Kendricks dumped him for a 1-yard loss on his first run of the third quarter, which set the tone. It continued through the second half. Brandon Graham nailed him late as Shady tried to escape.
"We know him a little too well, and we know he is not going to try to cut back inside," Graham said. "I shot outside and happened to hit him. Felt good."
Despite his surliness Sunday and his sour grapes since the trade, McCoy regards much of his time at the Linc with fondness. After all, he left as the franchise's all-time leading rusher and holds records for rushing yards in a season (1,607 in 2013) and rushing touchdowns in a season (17 in 2011), both set by wide margins. A Harrisburg native, he told a radio station he bought 50 tickets for friends and relatives. McCoy was often a generous and compassionate teammate.
He also was confrontational; a lousy tipper; a social-media nitwit; at the end, a race-baiting malcontent who unfairly stigmatized Chip Kelly.
Notably, during pregame warmups McCoy did not engage any of his ex-teammates. He did hug owner Jeffrey Lurie at midfield and shook hands with former general manager Howie Roseman.
Then again, it's easy to be gracious when you're not a beaten man.
On Twitter: @inkstainedretch