McCoy finds personal growth in charity game

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McCoy finds personal growth in charity game
June 22, 2013, 10:00 pm
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LANCASTER, Pa. -- LeSean McCoy was in the headlines during the winter for the wrong reason. You remember those ill-advised tweets back and forth with his ex-girlfriend, the mother of his baby.

McCoy quickly apologized and said he understood how important it is that he’s a positive example for kids and for the community, and he promised to work hard to change his image.

Saturday night certainly helped.

Nearly 5,000 people attended the second annual LeSean McCoy Foundation charity softball game Saturday night at the magnificent Clipper Magazine Stadium, home of the Atlantic League Lancaster Barnstormers. Official attendance was 4,937.

“I think when guys do stuff like this, whether it’s for a foundation or just giving back to the community, I think you’re becoming a complete person,” teammate and close friend Jeremy Maclin said. “It’s more than just playing football.”

Last year’s game drew nearly 7,500 fans and raised over $100,000 to fight Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). This year’s won’t do quite as well but will still help battle the deadly affliction that claimed his beloved grandmother Maryann Branch in 2010.

And McCoy understands that raising money for such a good cause is all part of the process of growing up and maturing as a person.

“You dream of playing this game as a little boy, and then it becomes a reality, and then the partying happens and everything like that,” McCoy said. “And then you get a little bit older, and the things that mattered when you were younger don’t matter anymore.

“Seeing the smile on kids’ faces. Raising money for different charities. Having a nice foundation … means a lot to me. Just knowing the reason I’m doing the things I’m doing the things I do, it means a lot to me.”

Remember, he was only 20 when he was drafted, just 22 when he had his first 1,000-yard season, just 23 when he led the NFL with 20 touchdowns during his 2011 all-pro season.

He’s still just 24, which is incredible considering he’s already sixth in franchise history in rushing yards.

“I think he’s going to continue to mature more and more,” Maclin said. “He’s definitely headed on the right path, and after everything that’s happened – the Twitter incident and everything – I think he’s definitely learned his lesson.

“Me and McCoy are probably the two closest guys on the team as far as becoming friends, and we talked about certain things in depth and I think he’s put that in the past and he’s ready to move on.

“Any time I have an opportunity give back and help out one of my teammates, I want to be a part of that. It’s a cool thing, and I hope he continues to do it.”

Brent Celek, Jason Avant, Jamar Chaney and Brandon Graham were among the Eagles who played for the Eagles’ team Saturday night, and Dion Lewis, Torrey Smith, Devon Still and Drew Rosenhaus were among those who played for the NFL team.

Rosenhaus was roundly booed as he was introduced before playfully grabbing the microphone and reminding the fans that he had negotiated long-term contracts for McCoy, DeSean Jackson and Evan Mathis, so they should cheer him.

They booed him anyway.

McCoy’s day began by winning the home run derby – he hit three homers in five swings to beat the Ravens’ Smith in a playoff – and it ended with a two-run walkoff home run to left that capped a wild seventh-inning rally.

The Eagles led 13-7 going into the seventh, but the NFL team scored 14 runs on 13 hits to take a 21-13 lead. The Eagles came back with 10 runs on 12 hits in the bottom of the seventh.

So the 44-minute seventh inning included 24 runs on 25 hits.

Most importantly, a lot of money was raised for a tremendous cause.

“It made me feel good,” McCoy said. “The biggest thing was the support of so many people who played and came out also the fans. Which makes this whole thing go.

“Sometimes people get it all mixed up. The fans keep the NFL and keep everything going. Excited everybody came out and showed a lot of love and raised a ton of money.”

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