Shady Daddy: Ron McCoy in awe of his son

SEAN SIMMERS / THE PATRIOT NEWS Ron McCoy (right) wipes his son LeSean's tears of joy in 2009 while Andy Reid tells him he has been drafted by the Eagles.
SEAN SIMMERS / THE PATRIOT NEWS Ron McCoy (right) wipes his son LeSean's tears of joy in 2009 while Andy Reid tells him he has been drafted by the Eagles.
Posted: December 13, 2013

RON McCOY is as awed as everyone else, watching his son chase Wilbert Montgomery's Eagles franchise single-season rushing record.

"The way he just breaks you down. It's magic," LeSean McCoy's father said yesterday. "You're getting ready to come up on this guy, he's going one way, all of a sudden he just shifts and goes to the other side. I don't know how you're going to practice against that.

"He just has that wiggle, that ability to make you miss. A lot of backs don't have that."

Ron McCoy was present Sunday for LeSean's franchise-record 217-yard rushing performance against the visiting Detroit Lions, which broke the Steve Van Buren mark of 205 yards, set in 1949. The amazing day dovetailed with a family celebration of Ron's 50th birthday - which actually wasn't Sunday, but this was the best date for everybody to get together in Philadelphia.

They didn't really get a chance to talk one-on-one until breakfast Monday, Ron said, when he told LeSean: "That was a heckuva game. That was a game you controlled like you were in high school," playing for Bishop McDevitt in Harrisburg, the city where Ron has worked as a package handler for UPS since 1990.

Ron said he had a feeling during the game that his son's balance and cutting ability would give him an advantage on the snow-covered field, and as the second half wore on, that advantage became telling. LeSean has always been better late in games; he talked about that in his weekly session with reporters yesterday.

"Late in the game, I feel like if I get the ball enough, I get stronger," said McCoy, whose 1,305 yards on 261 carries leads the NFL. He scored on 40- and 57-yard runs in the fourth quarter Sunday, giving him seven fourth-quarter 40-plus-yard TD runs in his career. "That's something I've been doing since college. Late in the game, especially if it's close, I play more - I don't want to say 'aggressive,' but I just want to take the game over."

Ron McCoy was a baseball player growing up in Queens, N.Y., he said. After an Army stint, he settled in Harrisburg, on the advice of a cousin. His older son, LeRon, who turns 31 next month, preferred football - LeRon played wide receiver at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, then briefly for the Arizona Cardinals and the San Francisco 49ers - and LeSean, nicknamed "Shady" as a baby by Daphne, his mom, followed in LeRon's footsteps. Even so, Ron didn't see the kid with the Barry Sanders and Allen Iverson posters all over his room becoming perhaps the best running back in Eagles history.

"We wanted to get all that energy out. He had a lot of energy when he was coming up," Ron McCoy recalled. "So did [LeRon]. So we put 'em in the Pop Warner program. It took off. He took off."

The McCoys then sent both boys to Bishop McDevitt, a Catholic school with a renowned football program.

"In high school, I saw them give him the ball 10 consecutive times. I said, 'Aw, they're going to kill the little guy.' But they knew he couldn't be stopped," Ron McCoy said.

"We sacrificed," he said. "I remember when we had one car. I would take her to work [as a caseworker], and then, after I picked her up, she would take me to work. I'd come home at lunch, get the car, bring it back."

Things are more comfortable now. Ron took Monday off, but was deluged by questions from co-workers on Tuesday about whether he was at the game, what he felt, what he saw.

LeSean said yesterday he wants to "retire" his dad soon from UPS, where Ron takes packages from a large truck and distributes them to areas where they'll be placed on smaller trucks for delivery. Ron said they have talked about that, but he would like to get to 25 years on the job before cashing out. While it's true that LeSean signed a 5-year, $45 million extension last year, with an $8.5 million signing bonus, less than half the $45 million is guaranteed. And LeSean is 25, in a league where running-back careers are notoriously short. He's probably going to be living on that money for several decades.

"We always instilled that this right here is a privilege, and it's short-lived. Take care of your money," Ron McCoy said. "Do what you need to do while this window's open, 'cause it's going to close."

When the window does close, it might do so with a jersey retirement ceremony. McCoy already ranks fourth in Eagles history with 5,171 rushing yards, just 1,367 yards behind Montgomery's career record. He stands a good chance of approaching that mark by the end of next season, which would entail passing Van Buren (5,860) and his early career mentor, Brian Westbrook (5,995).

After Sunday's game, McCoy lamented never having met Van Buren, who passed away last year at 91. They were scheduled to meet in 2011, when McCoy was breaking some of Van Buren's records, but the meeting never happened because of Van Buren's health. McCoy has met Montgomery, 59, currently the running backs coach of the Baltimore Ravens, through one of McCoy's high school coaches, Paul Kreider.

"He's a cool guy. Knows tons about football," McCoy said. "That would be something cool, to break his record."

McCoy thinks and talks about where he stands among NFL runners. He said yesterday that when the schedule came out, "my eyes got big," because of the opportunity to go head-to-head this week with Adrian Peterson, generally considered the league's No. 1 back, though right now he is No. 2 to McCoy in NFL rushing. Peterson has said he hopes to play Sunday despite a foot injury, but other reports indicate that might be unlikely.

"He's one of the best backs to ever play this game, I think," said McCoy, who said he would rank himself in the top five or maybe the top three.

What would it take to make him No. 1?

"Being consistent . . . And production."

McCoy said a top back has to have something that makes him special. Teammates were asked yesterday what that something is, for McCoy.

"He makes the right cut, right time. He's elusive. He makes guys miss. That's the biggest thing, with Shady," left tackle Jason Peters said. "He ain't a barnburner, as far as his speed, but he's fast enough to make you miss and take it to the house."

DeMeco Ryans said great backs anticipate what's going to happen before it happens. DeSean Jackson said McCoy "has great vision. He sees the whole field."

Even when it's snowing, apparently.


On Twitter: @LesBowen

Blog: ph.ly/Eagletarian

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