Running back LeSean McCoy may be new to Tampa, but he's a vested veteran in the NFL who now has a Lombardi trophy to show for it. McCoy is entering his 12th season, a feat for any player, much less a running back, which is a position that has a notoriously short shelf life. Now, plugged into what could be one of the league's most potent offenses, McCoy believes he has more to give.
"I've done a lot of great things in my career," said McCoy, who still currently leads the league in touchdowns from scrimmage since 2010 with 85. "But I'm not finished. When I decide to step out on the field and to continue my career, that means a lot. I really dive in – I give it my all – and that can be a lot of different things from on the field playing to actually helping out the younger guys in the room."
The Bucs have a stable of running backs with youth on their side, their most recent addition before McCoy being this year's third-round pick, Ke'Shawn Vaughn, out of Vanderbilt. McCoy got his first chance to get on the field with those younger guys and the rest of his offensive teammates on Tuesday morning, less than an hour after making it official with the team.
"I witnessed today that they're so young and I really could help them out for this team and for the future," McCoy said. "I just want to have a big impact any way that I can, but I also want to get out there, contribute and show my worth."
After winning Super Bowl LIV with Kansas City back in February, McCoy was in talks this offseason with multiple teams looking to add a veteran talent – especially in the current uncertain climate that good, bad or indifferent, seems to favor more experienced players. The coronavirus pandemic has robbed a lot of developmental reps from young players and thus, created more obstacles for rookies, especially, looking to acclimate to the league. Veterans who know what to expect (at least on the field) can be a valuable asset to teams. But that's not all McCoy wanted to be.
"I think the biggest thing – where I'm at in my career – I had a couple teams reach out. No disrespect to the teams, but it didn't fit," McCoy said. "I wanted to win. I wanted to contribute. I needed something to push me. I want to be with a group of guys that want to win and I think this is a perfect place."
He's certainly found that group here with the ultimate competitor under center in Brady. You'd be hard-pressed to find anyone that values winning more than Brady. Heck, his arrival in Tampa was enough to draw one of his favorite targets from New England out of retirement in the quest for yet another championship.
"You talk about Rob [Gronkowski] – I've been friends with Rob for so long," McCoy said on Tuesday. "Just seeing how he came back – you get that itch to compete. Then you bring Tom Brady here – with the group of guys they already had as far as young guys – I want to be a part of it, I really do. It's a mixture of leadership with age and also the youth and talent."
Sounds like the perfect storm, doesn't it? You've got Hall of Fame-worthy veterans getting a second act mixed with young players on both sides of the ball; each respective group eager to prove themselves for different reasons.
"You know, I want to fit in," added McCoy. "I think another part of that is to go out there and show players and teams that I still can play. I think [there are] a lot of questions about guys here like that."
View some of the photos from Buccaneers Training Camp practice at the AdventHealth Training Center.
McCoy has 11,071 career yards with 73 touchdowns. He's been selected to six Pro Bowls and earned All-Pro honors twice. His most recent all-star appearance came in 2017 after the 29-year-old McCoy ran for 1,138 yards on 287 carries for a 4.0 yard-per-carry average. He has a career yard-per-carry average of 4.5, in fact, averaging over five yards-per-rush three times in his career. Even last year in a limited role for Kansas City, McCoy averaged 4.6 yards per carry, tallying 465 yards on 101 attempts in nine games started. He also had an 82.4% catch rate. Make your own conclusions on how that could fit in this season with a quarterback like Brady.
"There's going to be a time where it might be time to go, but when you compete against the younger guys and you're giving them a run for their money, it's like, 'Why would I stop?' I love this game," said McCoy. "That's really my attitude."
At this point, McCoy has already had a Hall of Fame-worthy career – much like Brady and Gronkowski. And like the true competitors they are, they know they can still continue to perform at a high level. They aren't content to sit in backup or player/coach roles to ride out the rest of their careers. They want to make a real impact and the Buccaneers gave McCoy an opportunity to do just that, while also still mentoring the next generation of running backs. It was the best of both worlds with a team that is now a feasible contender, which certainly helps McCoy make the most of the playing time he has left.
"They're building something special here – I truly believe that. Any way possible, I'm willing to help out and contribute."