LeSean McCoy: The real Man behind the Best Running Back
On the ground of American football, when the Philadelphia Eagles are playing, there is one person whose performance cannot be missed. That person is LeSean McCoy. He has been through fame, and even through notoriety. But, there is a side of McCoy that people know little or nothing about.
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Every day, when he returns from practice, he does not hit the pillow right away. This is because, his day does not end there. Even though he is supposed to crash in bed, dog-tired, after an entire day of practice, he still has enough time and energy left to spend for his two year old son. He does not want to start and finish the day with just football, even though he loves the game. He refuses to let football define who he is, even though he has to play football for half of his time, and has little time for anything else.
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LeSean McCoy: The real Man behind the Best Running Back
Professionally, McCoy has led NFL with 1607 yards and 11 total touchdowns – a highly successful statistic. He is shifty, speedy and slippery and has great vision. These qualities often lead him to be compared with Barry Sanders, Hall of Famer running back, who himself admits to the similarities. Since his childhood, McCoy has considered Sanders his football hero.
At 26, McCoy has been through pain and loss, and found love. Today, he is confident that he has more maturity, focus, hunger to be great, awareness. As a child, he was a happy baby, and he was also quite moody, which led him to gain the name, Shady. The name stayed on, and he even today, he is referred to as Shady McCoy. He started playing organized football at the age of just 5, and was a natural at the sport. Football was a family affair in his house, especially for his grandmother, Maryann, who would even drive from Queens, New York, all the way to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, just to support him during his games. He was his granny’s pet.
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In 2003, he became the starting running back for the football team of Bishop McDevitt High School, and became an immediate success. It gave him great confidence, because he became the no. 1 footballer in his school. But then, things changed in just the snap of a finger. It was the 25th of September, 2005. He was in his senior year. He was playing for his team in a match against Harrisburg High, he scored a touchdown in the first half. Then, in the fourth quarter, something happened that changed the entire course of his life – he cracked his ankle. In a moment, his every dream, every achievement flashed right in front of his eyes, as he thought that it was all over for him. It was the worst day of his life.
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He was diagnosed with a compound fracture in right ankle – this put an end to his senior season, and his high school career. It is a taken that for a footballer, two good feet are essential, and with one ankle hurt, the teams started to avoid recruiting him. He was depressed. He was used to being a great footballer, and he lost his identity in just one go. He started having doubts about himself. He was left lonely, and he knew he had to build his career one step at a time. Of course, he realized that this was something that would be difficult to achieve at home, and he decided to get a change of scenery.
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McCoy went to a prep school named Milford academy that was 5 hours away in New York. He was neither happy nor confident, and he was full of anger bitterness at that time and, and hatred for everyone. He cried himself to sleep every night. He started training harder. When he had to become the backup for other, she realized that this wasn’t all he wanted to be, and that he had to go back to being what he was. There was one man who noticed him, and believed in him. It was Dave Wannstedt, the head coach of the Pittsburgh Panthers from 2005 to 2010, who saw him stand on the sideline. He found it almost too difficult to see McCoy like that: the once no.1 back was now in a second team of a prep school. He decided to help McCoy regain his lost name.
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Today a successful player, McCoy knows that it was not an easy road to the top for him, even though people think otherwise. In February 2007, Dave finally made a huge commitment of a scholarship to him. The University stuck by this commitment. McCoy would play college football for Pittsburgh, and this transfer changed his life and career: it meant everything to him.
In 2007, McCoy set a whole new touchdown record as he scored 14 times, and the following year, it shot up to 21 touchdowns as he bested himself. His performance led him to get picked for 2009 NFL draft as the 53rd pick. He was the 4th running back taken in the second draft, and he knew he was the best in his class. By the start of his second year, he was named the starting running back of the Philadelphia Eagles. At this great point of his career, his personal life was crumbling: his greatest friend and support system, his grandmother, had been diagnosed with ALS, and now he realized that this was much tougher than anything else he had ever faced before.
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McCoy’s greatest died in September 2010 at the age of just 67. But, after just a week of this tragic incident, he was in Detroit with the Eagles. He knew he had to do well, and shine – for her greatest friend and fan. What followed made this match the best day of his career. He ran 120 yards, with 3 touchdowns, leading his team to victory. As he took a bow for the crowd, he knew she was watching her grandson, feeling proud of him. As a tribute for his biggest fan, he became the face of ALS with his organization.
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Professionally, he became the face of the Eagles with whom he continued until his transfer to the Buffalo Bills very recently. He became hugely successful, and grew confident that whatever the people might say, he is the best running back. In fact, his confidence led to him being known on Twitter when he called the former Giant Osi Umenyiora overrated and soft. In 2013, he had a much greater Twitter feud: with the mother of his son, and he deleted his account. That’s how he has matured in the front of social media: he doesn’t want any more drama in public. He knows that those who know him will love him anyway, and he has outgrown the phase when he posted those tweets. He is a different person now and would like to be known for the new him, instead of the old one. Besides, he is uncomfortable in letting his son see that there is problem between his parents.
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He and his son’s mother share custody of their son. McCoy has his son Monday through Friday, even during football season. He has walked the walk by making time even in the middle of his busy schedule for his son – 5 days a week, and he ensures that he takes good care of the kid. He knows that the days of his Twitter outbursts are over, and now he is OK with changing his son’s diapers. Once again he has changed his life. He wants people to know him for more than his football. He cares about what his son will one day hear and read about his father.