Bills’ McCoy uses questions about turning 30 into motivation
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) — The more skepticism LeSean McCoy hears about whether he can maintain his production after turning 30, the better the Buffalo running back feels.
McCoy is using the questions as motivation in preparing to open his 10th NFL season on Sunday, when the Bills play at Baltimore.
“People take a lot of shots at running backs, 30 years old,” McCoy said Wednesday. “So it’s like something extra to drive me. If it’s chasing different things, yardage, wins, you name it. Whatever it is, I’m always going to try to find something to get myself going.”
Little has managed to slow him down yet.
And that includes the cloud of allegations directed at McCoy stemming from his former girlfriend, Delicia Cordon, being bloodied during a home invasion on July 10 at a residence the running back owns in suburban Atlanta. Police have not identified a suspect.
Cordon filed a lawsuit last month accusing McCoy of breaching his duty to protect her by denying her access to a security system he recently had installed. She also alleged McCoy often “brutally beat his dog,” and would also “aggressively, physically discipline and beat his young son.”
In his first comments since the lawsuit was filed, McCoy would only say, “I’ll take care of that stuff,” before adding he’s focused solely on playing the Ravens.
He was in an upbeat mood during a near 10-minute news conference. That was a switch from the last time McCoy spoke to reporters on the opening day of training camp in July, when he grew frustrated over questions regarding the home invasion.
On Wednesday, McCoy was honored in being named an offensive captain following a player vote.
McCoy expressed no concerns over whether he can continue being the focal point of a retooled offense breaking in a new quarterback, former backup Nathan Peterman, features a patchwork line and lacks proven threats beyond him and receiver Kelvin Benjamin.
He’s used to the role of carrying the load.
“To be honest, that’s always been my thing since my third year,” said McCoy, who led the NFL in yards rushing in 2013 in his fifth season in Philadelphia. “I’ve always been the focal guy on offense.”
McCoy is coming off a season in which he had 1,138 yards rushing — the fifth-highest total of his career — and 448 yards receiving and eight touchdowns and became the NFL’s 30th player to top 10,000 yards rushing. With 10,092 yards rushing, he ranks 29th and is some 1,900 short reaching his objective of 12,000.
The number is significant to McCoy because 13 of the 16 players to reach 12,000 yards rushing have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Former Indianapolis running back Edgerrin James (12,246 yards rushing) is one of the players not enshrined, while the other two are still active: Miami’s Frank Gore (14,026) and Washington’s Adrian Peterson (12,276).
McCoy’s age is not an issue for coach Sean McDermott.
“Whatever we need to do to win games, that’s what we’ll do,” he said when asked about potentially limiting McCoy’s playing time.
“I get where you’re going with the age, and that’s usually tied to running backs, age 30, and all that. But he’s a special guy,” McDermott added. “I think he’s a healthy 30. To me, he looks like he’s in better shape this year than he was a year ago.”
Time will only tell.
A sore groin and hip limited McCoy to appearing in just one preseason game, a 19-17 win at Cleveland on Aug 18, in which he acknowledged feeling rusty in managing 11 yards on four carries.
“I didn’t play well, but that’s kind of my norm in preseason,” said McCoy, who added he feels ready for the start of the season.
Another concern is though he topped 1,000 yards rushing for a sixth time last season, McCoy averaged a career-worst 4.0 yards per carry.
McCoy shrugged off a question by saying production numbers can vary. What matters most is the respect he continues to draw from opposing defensive coordinators in devising ways to stop him.
“Having a 4.0 a carry is one thing,” McCoy said. “But every week it’s no secret. The defense knows the game plan and what they’ve got to do to stop me.”
NOTES: DT Kyle Williams (right knee) and DE Trent Murphy (groin) were not listed on Buffalo’s injury report after both missed significant time during training camp. … WR Ray-Ray McCloud (left knee) and LB Julian Stanford (nose) were Buffalo’s only two players listed as not practicing.