Adrian Peterson questions LeSean McCoy’s sincerity following boastful claim

Last season Adrian Peterson (right) averaged 90.4 rushing yards per game, good for second in the NFL behind LeSean McCoy (left), who averaged 100.4 rushing yards per game.

Brace Hemmelgarn/Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Adrian Peterson’s again being challenged for the "best running back in the NFL" title.

Years after Tennessee’s Chris Johnson disputed Peterson’s standing as the league’s best back following his 2,000-yard season, Philadelphia’s LeSean McCoy is making the claim he’s on top now.

Only, Peterson doesn’t think McCoy even believes what he said.

McCoy made the statement on Monday on ESPN. Peterson was asked about McCoy’s remarks on the Jay Mohr Sports show on Tuesday.

"He didn’t really mean it," Peterson said Tuesday. "If you watched his response (he didn’t mean it). I’ve got to give the young guy credit because there is nothing wrong having confidence in yourself. But, you’ve got to speak with more truth. He’s a heck of a running back and I like his style, so I won’t get on him too much."

McCoy led the league in rushing for the first time in his career last year, finishing with 1,607 rushing yards. He added 52 catches for 539 yards and scored 11 touchdowns while playing all 16 games.

Is that enough to lay claim to being the best running back in the NFL? Peterson doesn’t think so and McCoy’s response when asked tells Peterson all he needed to know.

"(Laughing) It was funny because when Stephen A. (Smith) asked him the question, he kind of hesitated," Peterson said. "And he didn’t believe it when he said it. I tell the youngsters, ‘Say it with your chest, like you mean it.’"

McCoy might have rushed for more yards than Peterson last year, but Peterson has plenty of ammunition if he wants to fight McCoy’s claims.

After all, Peterson is only one season removed from winning the MVP — and breaking the quarterback hold on the award — and rushing for the second-most, single-season yards in NFL history.

Peterson, playing through groin and foot injuries, still finished fifth in the league with 1,266 rushing yards in only 14 games. Peterson, who had groin surgery after the season, averaged 90.4 rushing yards per game, good for second in the NFL behind . . . McCoy, who averaged 100.4 rushing yards per game.

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