One of the most compelling games of Week 14 will be played in the City of Brotherly Love. It’s compelling not just because the Bills and Eagles need a win for postseason purposes, but because of the Unbrotherly Loathing between Buffalo running back LeSean McCoy and Philly coach Chip Kelly.
The abrupt trade that sent McCoy packing in the offseason became the focal point of the week preceding the game (along with Kelly’s ongoing issues with McCoy’s primary replacement, DeMarco Murray). McCoy expressed no regrets for his race-based assessment of the trade, Kelly said he’d shake McCoy’s hand on Sunday, and McCoy said Chip “can’t shake sh-t.”
Chip also can’t ring McCoy’s phone. According to Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Kelly called McCoy on Tuesday. McCoy didn’t recognize the number, and he answered the call. After Kelly identified himself, McCoy hung up.
The move underscores the emotion that McCoy will bring back to Philly on Sunday.
“[H]e’s very fired up,” Bills tight end Charles Clay told Friday’s PFT Live. “I mean he’s getting a chance to go back home and go back to where he’s spent I think the last six years or so there. He’s very fired up. Anytime you get a chance to go back and play your former team . . . you want to impress and you want to play good. I mean he’s emotional, he’s fired up every week but definitely looking forward to seeing him play this week as I am every week. But he’s definitely fired up.”
Is there a chance he’ll be too emotional?
“I don’t think he’ll be too emotional,” Clay said. “I mean he does a good job of controlling those kind of things once he gets on the field. . . . He goes about it in a very professional manner so I don’t expect him to be too emotional. I mean he’ll be fired up but he definitely wants to win this game and he’ll go out there and do all he can in order to do so.”
The real question is whether the Eagles defense will find a way to contain their former teammate. The players and coaches know what McCoy does well and what he doesn’t do well. That gives them a clear edge.
The reception McCoy receives could give him an edge. Unlike Terrell Owens a decade ago, McCoy didn’t want to be traded or released. He wanted to stay. At a time when the locals remain less-than-enamored with Kelly, a torrent of cheers for McCoy could speak volumes on Sunday.