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CUT-ON-A-DIME RUNNING BACKS RARELY TOIL IN ANONYMITY, BUT LESEAN MCCOY HAD A REACTION WORTHY OF A LONG SNAPPER WHEN APPROACHED BY A REPORTER AT THE EAGLES' TRAINING CAMP last summer. "You want to interview me?" he said, surprised to be the focus instead of Michael Vick or DeSean Jackson, whom he called "the two most electrifying players in the NFL."
No longer flying under the radar, the lightning-quick McCoy became an All-Pro last season at the age of 23, rushing for 1,309 yards and a league-best 17 touchdowns while catching 48 passes for 315 yards and three scores. No player crossed the goal line more than the 5' 11", 208-pound scat back, and only four others had more yards from scrimmage.
At a press conference following April's NFL draft, coach Andy Reid said he "probably overplayed McCoy" and suggested that McCoy's touches will be scaled back in 2012. But don't believe it. Reid may have sounded like a baseball manager worrying about pitch count, but he's a football coach with two years left on his contract who could be shown the door early if the Eagles fail to make the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1999.
McCoy, who set a franchise rookie record with 637 rushing yards three years ago, should be—along with Arian Foster and Ray Rice—among the first three players taken in fantasy drafts because he's a rare feature back in a high-scoring offense who rarely has a single-digit week. As Philly's starting tailback the past two seasons, he's had 606 touches—eighth most in the NFL. And McCoy is not likely to lose reps to anyone else in the Philly backfield. Backup Dion Lewis finished with 23 carries for 102 yards and a touchdown last season, and the Eagles added only one back in this year's draft, Bryce Brown, a seventh-rounder who rushed three times for 16 yards in his only year at Kansas State.
On Feb. 13, using the handle @CutonDime25, McCoy tweeted a picture of himself posing in the gym with both arms flexed above his head, his lips snarling more than smiling. The caption read, "Y I'm the best . . . No RB's working but ME."
Reid will want the ball in such a player's hands both to spur the offense and in an effort to keep Vick—the team's second-leading rusher last season—from taking the vicious hits that forced him to miss seven games over the past two years.
The dynamic McCoy, a threat to slip through the line or pull down a short pass and burst into the open field, has raised his production in each of his first three seasons. He could do that again this year. Don't miss out.