Ron Cook: The LeSean McCoy in the news today is far cry from one who played at Pitt
February 12, 2016 12:00 AM
LeSean McCoy was a superstar at Pitt, continuing his excellence in the NFL, but now he has the off-field resume of someone who has lost his way.
By Ron Cook / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The LeSean McCoy I know sat in a football office at Pitt’s South Side headquarters and asked with wide-eyed, almost childlike innocence, “Do you think I’m ready for the NFL? Really?”
This was November 2008. McCoy, a third-year sophomore, was closing in on the end of his second season at Pitt. He was a terrific running back, perhaps the school’s best since Tony Dorsett. He rushed for 1,328 yards in 2007, including 148 yards on 38 carries on a frigid December night in Morgantown, W.Va., when Pitt pulled off the biggest upset in school history, 13-9. He would finish the 2008 season with 1,488 rushing yards and 21 touchdowns. But, now, he was contemplating the most important football decision of his life: Should he return to Pitt for another season and be a Heisman Trophy favorite or should he enter the NFL draft?
I remember telling McCoy, “I’m not the person to answer that question, but my guess is Dave Wannstedt is going to tell you that you’re ready.”
That’s the way it went down.
The Philadelphia Eagles took McCoy in the second round of the 2009 draft. He soon became one of the league’s top running backs, scoring an NFL-best 20 touchdowns in 2011, rushing for an NFL-best 1,607 yards in 2013 and accumulating fame and fortune. He is the Eagles’ all-time rushing leader. He has made four Pro Bowls and is a two-time All-Pro.
It was easy to be happy for McCoy, a nice kid.
I don’t know the McCoy I’ve read about the past few years. I don’t want to know him. That McCoy appears to have become a monster.
All indications are an arrest warrant will be issued soon for McCoy because of his alleged role in a brawl early Sunday morning at a private club in Philadelphia.
This isn’t the first time McCoy has made news for the wrong reasons.
In 2013, McCoy was accused of assaulting a woman on a party bus. He denied the allegations and accused the woman of trying to shake him down for money. He wasn’t charged with a crime.
Last spring, not long after he was traded to the Buffalo Bills after six seasons with the Eagles, McCoy accused Philadelphia coach Chip Kelly of getting rid of “all the good black players” on the team. The insinuation that Kelly is a racist, without offering any real proof, is just about the worst thing one human being can do to another. Kelly never fired back at McCoy and, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, reached out to him before the Eagles played the Bills in December only to have McCoy hang up on him. Kelly denied making the call. McCoy refused to talk about Kelly after the Bills lost to the Eagles, 23-20, angrily telling the media, “I don’t have nothing to say.”
Last summer, McCoy sent out an Instagram invitation to a private party that required women to sign a confidentiality agreement. McCoy ended up canceling the party but said, “For the record, it was no weird orgy thing going on.” Regardless, McCoy looked like an insensitive creep at a time when violence against women was an especially hot topic in the NFL after the Ray Rice incident in 2014. .
Now, there likely will be a warrant for McCoy’s arrest.
McCoy has been linked with three other men to a brawl that sent two off-duty police officers to the hospital with serious injuries. Video obtained by TMZ Sports shows a man who appears to be McCoy throwing at least one punch. A representative of one of the officers told Philadelphia station WPVI, “[The officers] suffered serious facial fractures and multiple bones in their faces. The video we’ve seen clearly indicates that they were being stomped and beaten and struck while they were on the ground. So for anybody to characterize this as a bar fight … this was aggravated assault that occurred in a bar, plain and simple.”
The police officers are not expected to face disciplinary action.
It’s too soon to determine McCoy’s guilt or innocence. More facts will be needed even if an arrest warrant for assault is issued. But this much is certain: McCoy is, at the very least, guilty of stupidity for being in that situation. He has too much to lose to be in a club at 2:45 a.m.
Roger Goodell will be interested to see how the McCoy case goes. It was just a week ago that Goodell, in his State of the NFL address at Super Bowl 50, bragged how player arrests in 2015 were down 40 percent. It’s possible, if not likely, McCoy will face a league suspension if he is arrested because of this incident.
The Bills must be having second thoughts about trading for McCoy, to the point they have to be thinking of releasing him because he has become such a bad headache. When he balked about coming to Buffalo, the Bills gave him a five-year, $40 million contract with $26.5 million guaranteed. He rushed for just 895 yards and missed four games last season, impressing no one with his toughness or willingness to play through injuries.
I really don’t know that McCoy.
I think back again to our conversation in 2008. One other thing McCoy said stands out.
“It seems like everything is happening so fast. That’s a big step [to the NFL], you know? That’s the real world.”
McCoy jumped in with both feet.
Now, he appears to be sinking fast.
Ron Cook: email@example.com. Ron Cook can be heard on the “Cook and Poni” show weekdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on 93.7 The Fan.
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