There was not one justifiable reason for LeSean McCoy's day to end like this.
Andy Reid is undoubtedly ashamed of the way his tenure as the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles is ending. But that is no justification for putting his soon-to-be-ex-team's best player at risk for no sound reason.
Down 31-6 to the Washington Redskins in the fourth quarter—after the two-minute warning—the Eagles had nothing approaching a realistic opportunity to come back and win the game. Nevertheless, there was LeSean McCoy, the Eagles' only All-Pro candidate this season and the Eagles' only true keeper going forward, still on the field.
Even before what happened next, Reid's decision to keep McCoy in the game in that situation was far beyond negligent or even reckless. It was an intentional and selfish choice by a head coach who was trying to squeeze one more cosmetic score out of garbage time to lessen the eventual loss margin.
For the uninitiated, LeSean McCoy signed a five-year contract extension in May with an announced value of $45 million and $20,765,000.00 in guaranteed money, according to cbssportsline.com. In 2011, he had 273 carries, 48 receptions, 1,624 yards from scrimmage, 20 touchdowns…and one fumble. McCoy earned his first Pro Bowl trip as a result.
In this shambles of an Eagles season, he is the only player you can safely project to have his job again in 2013, a season with which Andy Reid does not figure to be involved.
Therefore, even if McCoy had finished the game healthy, make no mistake: Reid's decision to leave McCoy on the field in that situation was an offense against the franchise by Reid that would justify his dismissal—irrespective of all Reid's many other errors this season.
The mere act of jeopardizing the one true talent left on the Eagles' roster to try to lose 31-13 or 31-9, instead of 31-6, was entirely inexcusable and motivated only by Reid's desire to lessen the damage to his own reputation.
But of course, McCoy did not finish the game healthy.
The Eagles were forced to call their final timeout with 1:45 left in the fourth quarter after McCoy sustained a blow to the head while being brought down after a seven-yard gain. McCoy's run left the Eagles with 3rd-and-3 on their own 43. It also caused medical personnel with a stretcher to come out for him.
The obvious concern is that McCoy sustained, if not a concussion, then some head trauma sufficiently similar to require his removal from the game. McCoy's status will not be known for at least a day or two, maybe more, as the NFL concussion protocols are followed and tests are run.
It is not reasonable, though, to call it second-guessing to say that McCoy should have come out of the game before he was injured. There was first-guessing. Seconds before the play that caused McCoy's injury, 94 WIP-FM's Mike Quick (doing color for the radio broadcast) asked innocently why McCoy was still on the field. Then the hit that knocked McCoy out of the game actually happened, almost as though Quick's words had brought his argument to life.
Meanwhile, in Reid's post-game press conference, his blatant disregard for the health of his franchise player and the franchise was writ large when he answered a question as to why McCoy was still in the game at that point by saying the Eagles "were trying to catch up and win the game," according to philly.com.
In summary: Reid was telling the assembled press that he had his franchise running back in the game with less than two minutes left, down 25 points on the Eagles' side of the field, because he was trying to catch up and win the game.
Sure he was.
What Reid was really doing, of course, was trying to put a Band-Aid on an ax wound with a meaningless score as the clock ran out.
That he would put McCoy at risk for such an ignoble, indefensible and useless goal is just the most recent reason that Andy Reid should no longer coach the Philadelphia Eagles.