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LeSean McCoy expects to be in 'same role as last year' with Bills

LeSean McCoy doesn't seem the least bit fazed by the Buffalo Bills adding new running backs via free agency and the draft after the worst season of his 10-year NFL career.

He told The Buffalo News Wednesday that he fully expects to continue as the Bills' starting running back, a role he has held since joining the team in a 2015 trade with the Philadelphia Eagles.

"In this league, in general, it's always competition," McCoy, who turns 31 in July and is entering the final year of his contract, said after the second day of practice at the Bills' mandatory minicamp. "I'm a type of guy, I thrive off of having a big name. So when guys come to my team, they're curious to see, 'How is LeSean McCoy? Is he still a good player?' I mean, I'm a dominant player. I think that speaks for itself. But I'll be in the same role as last year. And I look forward to putting some numbers up and bouncing back from that last season."

In 14 games, including 13 as a starter, he finished with a career-low 514 yards and three touchdowns on 161 carries. That gave him 3.2 yards per carry, also a career low. Asked why his production slumped so badly and if his health was an issue, McCoy said, "I mean, there were some games I wasn't right, but overall, it just didn't work. I'll just leave it at that. But I look forward to bouncing back this year."

The Bills proceeded to aggressively address their offense in free agency, including the additions of running backs Frank Gore, 36, who is entering his 15th NFL season, and 25-year-old T.J. Yeldon, a fifth-year veteran. They also made Devin Singletary a third-round draft pick from Florida Atlantic University.

After selecting Singletary on the second day of the draft, General Manager Brandon Beane emphasized that McCoy still was the Bills' "starter" at running back.

McCoy stressed that he not only welcomed the newcomers, but he said he thought it made perfect sense in light of the fact the team's top two running backs last year were 30 years old. The other was Chris Ivory, who finished with 115 carries for 385 yards and was released by the Bills March 27 – five days after he turned 31.

"I think that, if I was the GM or the coach, you have two 30-year-old running backs, so you've got to eventually prepare for the future, that's normal, I would do that," McCoy said. "But there were so many requests for trades for me, people were trying to get me, (the Bills) didn't make a move. This team here wouldn't make a move. That shows confidence in that.

"I play with confidence, so I don't let stuff like that move me. The guys in the room, that's going to help us out. Like Frank, I'm sure, he'll help us out. He'll get some play, he'll make some plays. With the rookie, you know, we'll try to fit them in there. But I expect to be the main workhorse."

He made it clear he has a particularly healthy respect for Gore, who has 14,748 yards in 14 NFL seasons to McCoy's 10,606 in 10.

"That's my guy," McCoy said. "We train together. Frank, man, he's a competitor. I mean, when I first started training with him years ago, I remember we would do like sprints. He always tells me he likes to train with younger guys to see where he's at. So as we get there to start training, they say, 'Ready. Set. Go!' At 'ready,' he's leaving. So guess what? He's always beating the younger guys.

"But that just shows the type of competitive nature that's in him. He wants to compete and I like that. I look at him and I'm like, 'Dang. If he's playing 14-15 years, I can do that.' "

After all of the Bills' personnel moves, McCoy described himself as "excited" about the 2019 season.

"The first thing that they kind of addressed was the big boys up front," he said. "And you really can't do nothing without them. I'm extremely confident in that group. I'm ready to roll. You've got Frank here and added some wide receivers to stretch the field a little bit. So I'm waiting to see how all these pieces of the puzzle fit together. I'm optimistic about this year.

"I'm motivated. All I need is opportunity. I'm going to make it happen. I think this year, we'll have a lot more open space, we'll have a lot more opportunity. I think we put a lot of money into the offensive line. So I'm excited."

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