There’s always a fire to put out around LeSean McCoy.
Earlier this year, the Buffalo Bills’ running back was in the news after allegations of domestic, child and animal abuse were made against him by a friend of his ex-girlfriend. An active police investigation and civil court case have followed McCoy into the 2018 season.
Now, it’s trade rumors. The Buffalo News confirmed via a league source that the Philadelphia Eagles did indeed reach out to the Bills on Tuesday to check on McCoy’s availability. It’s not clear how deep those discussions got, but Bills coach Sean McDermott felt compelled to address it Wednesday after the start of his press conference.
“LeSean is one of our better players,” McDermott said. “I thought he had a good game the other day. Really, we’re just looking forward to playing the Houston Texans. We get calls all the time, incoming calls happen all the time. Brandon (Beane) and I talk a lot, and I won’t go into any more detail than that.”
McDermott stayed true to his word, shutting down any other question that dealt with the topic, including whether McCoy is available in a trade.
“I’m not going into that,” the coach said. “This is why I came out and started where I started. If you just want to hear the same reply, I’ll give you the same reply. I respect where you’re coming from and the jobs you have to do — respect where I’m coming from. He’s a valuable member of our football team, and I’m going to leave it at that.”
That McCoy’s name would come up in speculation is not a surprise. The volume of exploratory trade calls naturally goes up as the Oct. 30 deadline draws closer. It also makes sense that the Eagles would at least place a call given that they lost running back Jay Ajayi for the season in the last week because of a torn ACL. Giving McCoy a chance to return to the team he started his professional career with — and remains the franchise’s all-time leading rusher — is logical. But that doesn’t mean it’s going to happen.
“I heard about it,” McCoy said of the speculation. “I just kind of stay focused on the job at task, at hand. I’ll let that stuff work itself out. We’ll see what happens.”
Like McDermott, McCoy shot down pretty much any other question about a potential trade, saying “that’s for my agent and the guys upstairs to work that out. I’m not going to even engage in the whole questions about a trade.”
Whether it’s trade talk or off-the-field drama, McCoy’s press conferences rarely focus solely on football — even if that’s his approach.
“I just stay focused. I don’t pay attention to it too much, trade stuff and everything else,” he said. “I should never have gotten traded anyway. I was killing stuff, you know?”
McCoy is coming off a season-high 24 carries that produced 85 yards in a 13-12 win over the Titans in Week 5.
“Last week was my first week of really getting out there and running — just trying to get some rust off, get going, play after play. It felt good,” he said.
At 2-3, it’s perhaps a bit early to start thinking about the playoffs, but it’s possible the next three weeks could shape the direction of the franchise before the trade deadline. Road games against Houston and Indianapolis are followed by a Monday Night home game against the Patriots. If the Bills were to drop all three, say, and fall to 2-6, they might be more apt to sell off pieces. Say they win two of three, though, and are 4-4. That would have them squarely “in the hunt” for the postseason.
At this point, that’s simply looking too far ahead.
“This week, we’ve got the Texans. I’ll worry about that,” McCoy said. “They’ve got a good defense, a lot of big-name guys on that defensive line. I’ve got my hands full this week.”
Safeties Micah Hyde (groin) and Rafael Bush (shoulder) both were limited practice participants Wednesday.
“Both have made progress,” McDermott said. “They’ll be out there on a limited basis today, and we’ll just see how they do here.”
The Bills’ injury list did have a new addition Wednesday, and it’s a significant one. Cornerback Tre’Davious White was listed as a limited participant with an ankle injury. With a matchup against Houston star DeAndre Hopkins looming, that’s something to pay close attention to.
Veterans Kyle Williams and Lorenzo Alexander were given their usual Wednesday rest day.
Hopkins and quarterback DeShaun Watson headlined a lengthy injury report for the Texans. Watson was a limited practice participant Wednesday with a chest injury, while Hopkins was limited by a foot injury. They were joined in being limited by: cornerback Shareece Wright (shoulder/hand); running back Lamar Miller (chest); cornerback Johnathan Joseph (hip); tight end Ryan Griffin (toe); and wide receivers Keke Coutee (hamstring) and Will Fuller V (hamstring).
Three Texans did not participate in practice: Linebacker Brian Peters (ankle), defensive end Jadeveon Clowney (illness) and cornerback Aaron Colvin (ankle).