McCoy fired up for homecoming in Philly

ByROB MAADDI AP Pro Football Writer via AP logo
Sunday, December 13, 2015
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LeSean McCoy returns to the Linc Sunday, this time in Buffalo Bills blue and white. And he could seriously jeopardize the Eagles' playoff chances.

PHILADELPHIA -- LeSean McCoy has been waiting for this game since the schedule was released.

The all-time leading rusher for the Philadelphia Eagles returns home to play his former team for the first time with the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. Nine months later, he's still mad coach Chip Kelly traded him.

"I'm not talking to Chip," McCoy said.

Kelly said he understands McCoy's bitterness and still plans to extend his hand if he sees him on the field.

"How he was traded wasn't handled right," Kelly said. "I did not get an opportunity to talk to him and it's a lesson in what we should never do, to be honest with you. I felt bad that I didn't get a chance to talk to him."

McCoy was a three-time Pro Bowl pick and two-time All-Pro in six seasons in Philadelphia. He led the league in rushing in Kelly's first year in 2013. But he was traded for linebacker Kiko Alonso last March after Kelly took control of personnel decisions.

McCoy took a personal shot at Kelly, saying he got rid of star players who are black. Kelly said money was the reason he made the move. McCoy would've accounted for $12 million against the salary cap this year. The Eagles used that money to make a big splash in free agency, signing 2014 rushing champion DeMarco Murray, cornerback Byron Maxwell and running back Ryan Mathews.

Murray has been a bust and Maxwell hasn't lived up to expectations.

This game is far more than McCoy vs. Kelly, though. It has strong playoff implications for both teams.

The Bills (6-6) are one game behind in the AFC wild-card standings. The Eagles (5-7) are in a three-way tie for first place in the weak NFC East.

Here's some things to know going into McCoy's homecoming game at the Linc:

TYROD'S PRECISION: Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor hasn't thrown an interception in 187 consecutive attempts, a team record. He has 13 touchdown passes, two rushing TDs and only one interception in the past eight games.

"He's very impressive with his deep ball, he's not (trying to do) too much and he's not making any bad decisions," Eagles defensive coordinator Bill Davis said.

BRADFORD'S BACK: Sam Bradford returned after missing 2 1/2 games and was efficient in a stunning win at New England. He hasn't thrown an interception in the past three games he's played and seems more comfortable in Kelly's up-tempo offense.

"He's playing better each week," offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur said.

RUNNING BACK ROTATION: Mathews is expected to return after missing three games with a concussion. Darren Sproles had 15 carries, Kenjon Barner had nine and Murray only had eight against the Patriots. Murray was only on the field for 14 of 61 offensive snaps, but Kelly insists he wasn't demoted.

"They all merit playing time," Kelly said.

REX'S RETURN: Bills coach Rex Ryan returns to the city where his dad is revered. Buddy Ryan led the Eagles to three playoff appearances in five seasons as head coach from 1986-90. Fans loved the outspoken Buddy Ryan despite no playoff wins because he turned the team into a winner after several losing seasons, and he hated the rival Cowboys. Rex Ryan began his coaching career in college when Buddy Ryan was in Philadelphia. He got his first NFL coaching job on his father's staff in Arizona in 1994.

"I like the fact we are going to Philly because you can get a good cheesesteak," Rex Ryan said.

GETTING SACKS: After leading the NFL with 54 sacks last year, the Bills have only 18. They haven't had more than two in any game. The defense has struggled trying to adapt to a hybrid 3-4 system in which the linemen drop back into coverage and linebackers are expected to make plays.