PHILADELPHIA - Andy Reid desperately wants to end the season - and most likely his tenure as Eagles head coach - on a winning note.
He proved it on Wednesday by announcing that running back LeSean McCoy will start Sunday's home finale at Lincoln Financial Field against Washington.
McCoy missed the last four games after suffering a concussion against the Redskins on Nov. 18.
"Why wouldn't I play?" McCoy said after practice Wednesday. "I'm paid to be a football player. I love playing the game, so obviously I want to be back out there. I don't live like that, just taking off."
McCoy, who made the Pro Bowl after rushing for 1,300 yards and scoring 20 touchdowns last season, had 750 yards and two touchdowns in 10 games this season before getting hurt at Washington.
With the Eagles (4-10) already eliminated from the playoffs, some observers thought Reid would simply let McCoy rest the remainder of the season in favor of rookie Bryce Brown and second-year running back Dion Lewis.
"We're all part of the team," Reid said Wednesday. "It's not a hierarchy that way. That's not how it works. You're healthy, you play. LeSean understands that. Our team understands that. And that's how you go about business. LeSean wouldn't want it any other way, and that's how I feel with it."
Reid's philosophy apparently doesn't apply to every position and player, however.
While McCoy will be returning to the lineup, quarterback Michael Vick will be on the bench. Like McCoy, Vick was also medically cleared to play again this week after suffering a concussion on Nov. 11 against Dallas.
But rookie Nick Foles will make his fifth straight start against the Redskins. As of Wednesday, Vick was scheduled to be the No. 3 quarterback behind Foles and Trent Edwards, who has not taken a snap in a game all season.
"It's been tough sitting out this long because you want to be out there playing and helping your team," Vick said Monday. "I just have to deal with it and make the most of it. Regardless of whether I'm the starter or the third-string quarterback, I'll continue to lead this football team and continue to find positives out of the situation."
Reid took considerable heat after McCoy was injured in the final minutes of a 31-6 loss to the Redskins. The 2011 Pro Bowler was hurt when he was hit by Redskins safeties Reed Doughty and Madieu Williams with one minute, 45 seconds left. He was eventually carted off the field.
Reid explained that McCoy was out there because the Eagles were trying to win the game, even though they trailed by 25 points with less than two minutes remaining.
"Even when I got hurt, people blamed coach for a bit," McCoy said Wednesday. "But I wanted to be in there. I'm a competitor and I'm going to finish this season out."
McCoy did not pass the Eagles' ImPACT post-concussion test for several weeks and was not cleared to start playing until Monday by an independent neurologist.
In the meantime, Brown rushed for 357 yards and four total touchdowns in back-to-back games against Carolina and Dallas, but has been plagued by fumbles. His turnover in Thursday's 34-13 loss to Cincinnati was his fourth fumble in as many games.
"I'm going to keep a close eye on (McCoy)," Reid said. "It won't be a normal workload like you'd see during the season when he's fresh. He's coming off an injury. But he'll work in as a starter and then Bryce has some valuable experience that he's gained over the last few weeks, so we'll get him in there. Dion will have a chance if we need him there."
The Eagles are now in the position of playing spoiler.
Both the Redskins (8-6) and New York Giants (8-6), whom the Eagles play in the final game on Dec. 30, are fighting with Dallas (8-6) for the NFC East title and wild-card playoff berths. The Eagles have a chance to knock them out.
"You don't really get caught up in their deal," Reid said. "You get caught up in the fact that you're playing two NFC East opponents that are good football teams and that excites you. You don't really care what happens with them.
"You care about how you present yourself and we owe ourselves that as a football team to play better and we owe our fans that as a football team to play better. So that's what we're going to do. We haven't given the fans the show that we wanted to give them. This is one more opportunity to do that."
The Eagles have a 2-5 record at Lincoln Financial Field this season, but haven't won at the Linc since beating the New York Giants on Sept. 30. They last won two games or less at home in a season in 1986, when they went 2-5-1 at Veterans Stadium.
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