McCoy still carries Chip on shoulder
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. — LeSean McCoy had a blunt response to Eagles coach Chip Kelly's offer to shake hands on the field in Philadelphia on Sunday.
Don't hold your breath.
"Chip can't shake (anything)," the Bills running back said, using a profanity on Wednesday. "He can't call me. He can't shake my hand. There's nothing he can do with me. He can't say (anything) to me. It's as simple as that."
Nine months have passed since Kelly decided to part ways with the Eagles' most dynamic offensive threat at the time, trading the graduate of nearby Bishop McDevitt High School in Harrisburg to Buffalo in exchange for linebacker Kiko Alonso. And McCoy, in preparing to face his former team for the first time, made it abundantly clear that he still holds a grudge by how abruptly his six-year stint in Philadelphia ended.
McCoy, who previously suggested Kelly's move was racially motivated, insisted he doesn't dislike his former coach.
"I have nothing against him," he said. "No hatred. We're not enemies."
That doesn't mean they're on speaking terms.
"I'm sure there are people you don't hate or have an issue with that you don't speak to," he said. "I'm with the Bills. He's with the Eagles. We never had any great relationship, best friends. So there's nothing to really talk about."
Kelly takes diplomatic approach:
The bad-blood showdown in the City of Brotherly Love highlights a game between the Bills (6-6) and Eagles (5-7), both battling to stay in the playoff picture.
Kelly took a diplomatic approach toward McCoy during a conference call with Buffalo-area reporters.
He referred to McCoy as "one of the premier backs in this game."
As for why he would trade him, Kelly said it was a salary-related decision because McCoy was going to count close to $12 million against the Eagles salary cap this year. Upon arriving in Buffalo, McCoy signed a five-year, $40 million restructured contract, with $26.5 million in guarantees.
Kelly can understand why McCoy was upset because news of the trade surfaced before he had a chance to inform the player.
Kelly said he's attempted to contact McCoy on numerous occasions, but his calls have gone unanswered.
"I always wanted to talk to LeSean," Kelly said. "He did everything we asked him to do when he was here. You guys know him, he's a great personality. He's got an infectious personality. I've got tremendous respect for this man."
McCoy didn't want to hear it.
"Chip don't owe me nothing and I don't owe him anything," McCoy said.
McCoy will try to rein in emotions: McCoy said biggest challenge is keeping his emotions in check — something he had difficulty doing during an 8-minute session in front of a large crowd of reporters and cameras gathered at his locker.
In one instance he said: "I'm a team player first."
The next, he added: "Now, it wouldn't hurt to have six, seven touchdowns in this game."
McCoy is still stung by feeling he was essentially discarded after six successful seasons in Philadelphia, where he was a three-time Pro Bowl selection and led the NFL in yards rushing in 2013.
Though he had initial reservations of playing for Buffalo, those feelings are now behind him.
"I think coming to a place that wanted me and appreciated me, that always counts," McCoy said. "It feels good again. It feels like the NFL again."
McCoy is starting to play up to his previous standards after his production was hampered by a strained left hamstring.
He's rushed for 112 yards in three of his past five games, and is part of an offense that ranks fourth in the NFL with 1,691 yards rushing. McCoy is also re-stablishing himself as a dual-threat in the receiving game by having topped 100 yards from scrimmage in six consecutive games, matching the fourth-longest streak in team history.
"There were times in training camp where I was (thinking), 'Oh, my goodness. Like this guy's gonna dominate,'" coach Rex Ryan said. "It was just about him getting healthy. And now that he's healthy, we're seeing the guy that we know he is."
McCoy said it will be "weird" entering the visitor's locker room. He added that he's also learned from watching how other players and Ryan have handled playing their former teams this season.
"Knowing who I am, I'd have been going crazy," McCoy said. "But seeing them go through it, and me being the last person, I've got to be professional."