LeSean McCoy is not backing down from his claim that he's the best running back in the NFL, and he is willing to stack his merits against those of Minnesota's Adrian Peterson.
"Especially the last three years," McCoy said. "Check the numbers."
In the last three seasons, Peterson rushed for 4,333 yards on 5.2 yards per carry, with 34 touchdowns. He also had 87 catches for 527 yards and three touchdowns. McCoy rushed for 3,756 yards on 4.8 yards per carry and 28 touchdowns, with 154 receptions for 1,227 yards and eight TDs.
The McCoy-Peterson discussion started when McCoy said during an ESPN interview earlier this spring that he was the league's top running back. Peterson said in a Fox Sports radio interview last month that McCoy "didn't really mean it." McCoy remained firm in his position.
Peterson, 29, has better rushing statistics, and McCoy has better yards-from-scrimmage statistics. McCoy's two all-pro seasons sandwiched Peterson's 2012 campaign, when he was named the league's MVP.
McCoy, 25, was on the Eagles' practice fields Monday for the team's second week of organized team activities. The Eagles have two more practices this week and four sessions next week before mandatory minicamp June 17-19.
"I do everything: running, catching, blocking, third-down guy, mixing in and out," McCoy said. "There's nothing that if you ask me to do, I won't do or can't do. In the last three years, I don't think there's a back that's more productive."
Each running back has professed his respect for his rival. Peterson said that McCoy is a "heck of a running back." Before the Eagles-Vikings game last season, Peterson was the first name McCoy mentioned when discussing the top rushers in the NFL.
McCoy said the offseason banter started when he answered a question honestly. After he led the NFL with 1,607 rushing yards last season, McCoy figured he had made his case.
"Running around with the belt is definitely fun," McCoy said.
McCoy's 314 carries last season were the most in the NFL, and 41 more than his previous career best. He said he is not feeling any effects of the increased workload, crediting coach Chip Kelly's sports science initiatives.
McCoy said the addition of Darren Sproles should help him stay fresh during the season. Sproles is considered more of a receiving threat than a running threat - he has had more receptions than rushes in three of the last four seasons - but McCoy thinks Sproles' presence will benefit him and the rest of the offense.
"It's another option, another type of look and formation other teams need to be aware of," McCoy said. "But if he takes some of the load off, and in that fourth quarter I'm fresh, I know defenses won't want to see that."
McCoy said he must wait to determine how missing DeSean Jackson will affect his rushing production and the offense.
For the offense to remain as proficient as it was in 2013, McCoy must have another strong season. He acknowledged that running backs might be de-emphasized elsewhere, but Kelly values running the ball, and McCoy has the ability to help in so many ways.
"The versatile backs, it's hard to cancel them out because there's not a package you can put them in that they can't perform out of," McCoy said. "So if it comes down to runs, what else can this back do? A back can catch, a back can run routes, a back can block, he'll still be valuable."
McCOY VS. PETERSON
LeSean McCoy's rushing yardage
McCoy's receiving yardage last season.
Adrian Peterson's rushing yardage
Peterson's receiving yardage last season.