Since making his plans official to leave Pittsburgh one month ago this week, LeSean McCoy has been training hard, much harder than during his time with the Panthers, and the time away appears to have worn on him a bit.
"I didn't think it was going to be like this, so intense and everything, but it's just something I have to deal with,'' McCoy said during an exclusive interview. "And I really miss college and all my friends at Pitt. Those coaches, they were some of my favorite coaches ever. Then, there's my family and friends back home.
"It's been a tough time, but I still feel that it was the right time for me to leave. My spot (in the draft) should be high enough, and a running back can only take a certain amount of hits. And my situation, I spent two seasons and Pitt and did really well. So, my stock was high, and I felt it was the right time to leave.
"Sure, I miss a lot of people at Pitt, friends that will be my best friends for the rest of my life, but I don't have any second thoughts,'' McCoy added. "I talked to some guys from Pitt who were in the same situation as me, and they also convinced me that it was the right thing to do for me and my family.''
McCoy trained for a couple weeks in Davie, Fla. at the Perfect Competition performance center, a 20,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility with a 5,000 square foot multi-level weight room, indoor turf area, outdoor track, cardiovascular and metabolic area, physical therapy and rehabilitative area, outdoor multi-directional training service, outdoor grass and turf fields, as well as a video analysis room, professional development center, locker rooms, showers and a conference room.
NFL players Fred Taylor, Willie Parker, Frank Gore, Eli Manning, Byron Leftwich, Charlie Batch, Tony Romo, Tyler Palko, Lawrence Timmons, Anquan Boldin, Plaxico Burress, Santonio Holmes, as well as some NHL and Major League Baseball players and 20 high school athletic programs have trained there.
McCoy then moved his training to Elite Athletics in Solano County, Calif. where he's been the past 3-4 weeks. A couple of his training partners are former Wake Forest cornerback Alphonso Smith and Liberty running back Rashad Jennings, who spent his freshman season at Pitt before transferring closer to his home in Lynchburg, Va.
"I go through a lot in my workouts, training for the 40, getting my weight up a bit, my bench press up and working on the (shuttle) drills, things like that,'' McCoy said. "So, I'm lifting weights and doing a lot of speed work to make me more explosive and fast. I'm doing a lot of jumping and things like that.
"Wait 'til you see me run. That'll really give you something to write about. But if I told you my 40 time, that would spoil it. I've improved in every area so far. Buddy had me training hard in college, but this is my job now. So, I've taken it to another level. This is my big chance, and I don't want to blow it.''
McCoy is represented by Drew Rosenhaus, a high-profile agent known for handling past and present NFL stars like Terrell Owens, Edgerrin James, Warren Sapp, Sean Taylor, Chad Johnson and Plaxico Burress.
The Miami-based Rosenhaus Sports group believes that McCoy will be among the top 2-3 running backs taken in the first round during the NFL Draft April 25-26.
"Everyone I've talked to says I should go in the first round, and I'm looking forward to showing everybody what I can do at the Combine next week and moving on to the NFL,'' McCoy said. "But any chance I get to go back to Pitt or back home, I'm going to take it.
"And I'm going to be the biggest Pitt fan out there. I cheer for the basketball team now when I see them on TV, and I'll watch as many football games as I can. Believe me, I'll always be a Pitt guy and their biggest fan.''
McCoy and other NFL hopefuls will get a chance to strut their stuff at the annual Combine Wednesday through Feb. 24 at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.