Why on earth wouldn't LeSean McCoy play?

December, 19, 2012
12/19/12
5:20
PM ET
I know why Michael Vick's not playing for the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday against the Washington Redskins even though he's recovered from his concussion and been cleared to do so. The Eagles are through with Vick, almost certainly, and are using the final few weeks of this season to see how Nick Foles looks as a part of their quarterback future.

What I don't know is why there's apparently this idea out there that it's silly for running back LeSean McCoy to play now that he's recovered from his own concussion. It's apparently rooted in the notion that the 4-10 Eagles' final two games are "meaningless." McCoy, to his everlasting credit, sees no sense at all in the theory. Per the Philadelphia Inquirer:
"Why wouldn't I want to play? They pay me to play this game," McCoy said. "I love this game. So why wouldn't I play?"

[+] EnlargeLeSean McCoy
AP Photo/Brian GarfinkelLeSean McCoy hasn't played since suffering a concussion against the Redskins in Week 11.
McCoy suffered his concussion late in a blowout loss down in Landover, Md. Reid was criticized by many for leaving the Eagles' franchise running back in. McCoy said it was the first time he ever had a concussion.

"Aw, man, no. I don't live like that -- to just take off," McCoy said. "Just like the play when I got hurt -- people blame coach for it, but I wanted to be in there. I'm a competitor. So I'm going to finish the season out if I'm healthy."

Right, I mean, obviously. If he's been cleared -- by a team whose trainer is basically the leading concussion expert in the entire league and helped design the NFL's recovery protocol -- and if the team has something for him to do, why in the world wouldn't he play? This isn't a Vick/Foles situation. The Eagles might want to see more from rookie running back Bryce Brown, but McCoy is a part of their future too, having signed a long-term deal last summer. Why would he get the rest of the year off? Because they have no shot at the playoffs? They why are any of the Eagles playing? Heck, why should anyone on the half of the teams in the league that have already been eliminated show up for work Sunday?

We overthink things sometimes. Obviously, if McCoy weren't clear of his concussion problems, they wouldn't even think about playing him. But he is, and he's on the payroll, so of course he's going to play. Once the doctors tell you you can go back to work, do you sit home and say, "Nah, today's not a real important day at the office, so I'll just sit home"? If the concern is that McCoy is exposing himself to injury and they need him next year, then guys like Brown and Foles and Brandon Graham and Fletcher Cox shouldn't play either, right?

McCoy will play, and should, because he can. And while that may or may not help the Eagles beat the Redskins this week or the Giants next week, people are still paying for the tickets and the parking, and the games mean something to other teams in the league. So if the question is "Why is McCoy playing this week?", the answer is as simple as, "Why wouldn't he?"

Dan Graziano

ESPN New York Giants reporter

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