It can be clearly said that Cardinals quarterback Colt McCoy has seen and experienced a thing or two in a career that began in 2010 as a third-round pick of the Cleveland Browns.
Surely, he expected to play in more than 55 games of a possible 206 as his NFL journey also took him to San Francisco, Washington, the New York Giants and Arizona.
Now, following the season-ending injury suffered by Kyler Murray, McCoy knows he will be the starter for the last four games of the season provided he stays healthy. Amid that backdrop, McCoy was able to reflect Wednesday on the highs and lows of his 13 years in the league while understanding the basic task at hand over the next three-plus weeks.
It was revealing listening to McCoy talk to the fans via the media, especially in light of a podcast interview former NFL cornerback Richard Sherman did Tuesday on The Dan Le Batard Show with Stugotz. Sherman is currently an analyst with Prime Video for the pregame, halftime and postgame shows surrounding Thursday Night Football.
A good amount of the narrative these days in pro sports, especially the NFL, has a nasty feel with the proliferation of social media where the tone can be vicious and negative.
That’s not to suggest that critical comments shouldn’t be a part of the discourse, but perspective often seems lost. After all, the “do your job” mentality, while certainly important to stress, sometimes loses sight of the unique aspect of the importance we put on games and competition.
After all, there are very few jobs, if any, that most of us have where someone is always trying to prevent someone else from doing their job.
Sherman had an eye-opening take, but one that actually should be obvious, about the discipline it takes to be a success in the NFL as well as to be able overcome injuries.
He said, “I think the discipline is the part most people don’t really understand. They don’t understand the discipline that it takes to be at this level and consistently push through. It takes a lot to stay at it and stay disciplined, work out year-round, keep your body in shape, train yourself. It’s about the days you don’t feel like doing anything and you got to do it anyway. You have to say no and you have to say that a thousand times in your career. That’s the part that’s the hardest for people to understand because they don’t see that.”
Sherman also believes few understand what happens physically and mentally when injuries occur.
“People are like, ‘Oh, ACL, man he’s out six months. We’re not going to have him until next year,’” he said. “Then he is out of sight, out of mind for most fans. In reality, that guy goes through a ton mentally just trying to figure out if he’s ever going to be the same. You see the cool stories when guys come back and they are able to play like they played before, but you don’t hear about the guys not coming back.”
McCoy went through that when he nearly retired after his Washington contract expired following the 2019 season.
“I told my agent and my family I was done, but just because of my health,” he said Wednesday. “Then, I kind of just worked really hard honestly to try to be able to run around with my kids in the backyard and spend some time without feeling it. It was a long process just because I had so many surgeries, but once I got through all that I don’t even think about it anymore.”
McCoy said he didn’t decide to play until late in the 2020 pandemic-affected offseason and noted, “I kind of missed out on some opportunities because I basically said I wasn’t going to go anymore. I had battled injuries and basically missed a whole season with my leg. Once I felt like I had overcome that, my mind still wanted to play football.”
He was fortunate because after being fired as head coach of the Cowboys, Jason Garrett had landed with the Giants as the offensive coordinator and wanted McCoy to sign there.
McCoy said, “I prayed about it for several days and eventually just decided. ‘All right let’s do it.’ The rest is history. I’m thankful that I’m here. To be honest, I’m grateful for this opportunity.”
He was with the Giants for the 2020 season on a 1-year deal and then signed with the Cardinals in 2021.
Now, McCoy is “saddened” by what happened to Murray, while knowing his eye has to be on the prize.
“I spend more time with him than I do with my kids,” McCoy said. “We’re in the room together, and I feel for him. I’ve been through it. A lot of guys have. You play football long enough; this kind of stuff happens. You don’t ever want it to happen to you. I think Kyler has a good support staff around him. I’ll certainly be there for him throughout this process. We want him to be back as soon as possible, but I want him to get healthy so (I’m) balancing that and also getting myself ready to play.”
McCoy did reveal that he has “talked to Kyler a bunch,” since the injury occurred. He added, “I spent a couple hours with him at his house after the game Monday night. His spirits were fine. He was smiling, but it’s an injury and we’re all upset. He’s upset and he’s frustrated, but his spirits were in a good place, and he’ll attack the rehab. We’ve got great doctors here and lots of guys have come back from ACLs and been just fine.
“I think he’s got full confidence in that. It’s just when something happens like that; I’ve played long enough and been around enough guys to (know) you’re in shock a little bit. You’re focused on the game and preparing. You don’t ever think about injuries, so when that happens, it’s part of the game, but it’s a shock. I think Kyler for all of that is in a good place and we’ll all put our arms around him.”
For a variety of reasons, Murray can be a polarizing personality with long-distance psychologists analyzing him.
When McCoy was asked how Murray is different from the outside perception, he smiled and said, “I’m an older guy. I don’t really deal with social media and don’t really read a lot about what you guys write, although I’m sure you’re very good at it. I focus on the day-to-day and internally Kyler approaches his job like everybody does. He’s a pro, he’s a competitor and we’ll all be arms around him through this process as he’s injured and coming back from that.”
He referenced to the discipline inherent in the game when a question was posed wondering if he ever thought he’d be in this position after almost retiring.
McCoy again said, “I’m grateful for the opportunity, and there’s a great group of guys in there. We’re not in the situation that we want to be in, but there’s some high-character guys in there. I think it’s my job, and a lot of the leaders on this team’s job, to get us all in the right mind(set to be) ready to go play this game, play out the rest of the season, treat it like professionals, and understand that the ball hasn’t bounced our way this year.
“When we do things right, we’re disciplined, and we don’t shoot ourselves in the foot, we’re a good football team. Let’s go do that. I think for me, that’s the focus.”
Saying that “the ball hasn’t bounced our way this year” is obvious.
Not long after McCoy spoke to the media and the open locker room period had ended, the team announced that wide receiver Rondale Moore had been placed on reserve/injured, ending his season. Moore played in only eight games, but it was essentially seven because he played only two snaps after suffering a groin injury in the Mexico City game against the 49ers. He previously missed three games after injuring his hamstring during the Thursday practice three days before the season opener.
Also announced was the signing of quarterback Carson Strong to the practice squad, which had been reported by national insiders Tuesday.
Notable was that when coach Kliff Kingsbury spoke to the media prior to the session with McCoy, he was asked if there was any expectation beyond the practice squad for Strong. Kingsbury said, “Not right now. We’ll see how that goes, but (we) just needed another guy in to start to develop and work with the scout team just in case.”
There was no mention by the coach of the signing of quarterback David Blough to the 53-man roster so the media couldn’t ask about it just as we weren’t aware of the Moore decision. If every injury isn’t asked about, no news is forthcoming.
That is a consistent pattern of the information chain where news is often either put out by national reports or announced by the team after media access has occurred.
Not surprisingly, that was also the case with the stunning news of general manager Steve Keim taking an indefinite leave of absence for health-related reasons. That occurred not long after media access ended so Kingsbury can’t be asked about it until Friday because he doesn’t talk to the media on Thursdays.
For the immediate future, vice president of player personnel Quentin Harris and vice president of pro personnel Adrian Wilson will share Keim’s responsibilities.
That leaves numerous questions about the club’s direction with the regular season ending in 24 days.
Surely, we will be the first to know the answers.
Don’t hesitate to comment or ask questions on Twitter @hbalzer721 or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org