LeSean McCoy lobbies for running backs

PHILADELPHIA -- LeSean McCoy is the NFL’s defending rushing champion, so he takes it more than a little personally when people say running backs aren’t as important as they used to be.

“When people say the position is decreasing, or that people don’t value us as much, I don’t believe that,” McCoy said Sunday. “The top guys, who make good money and are productive, aren’t just running backs. They’re play makers. Compare the top guys to any other players, and they hold their own.”

McCoy said he has kept an eye on the other backs making news around the league. He texted congratulations to Kansas City’s Jamaal Charles when he signed his new contract. And he said he hopes Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch gets a big deal to improve the market for other running backs.

As for himself, McCoy’s 2012 contract runs through the 2017 season. He will make $7.65 million this season and $9.75 million in 2015.

“I’m here,” McCoy said. “I’m under contract. I’m friends with those [other backs].”

McCoy has gotten into a public give-and-take with Minnesota’s Adrian Peterson over which is the better back. When he clinched the rushing title during the season-ending game in Dallas last year, McCoy displayed a championship belt. Clearly, he takes pride in being at the top of his profession, but also in his profession itself.

“Jamaal Charles led his team in receiving yards,” McCoy said. “I led the league in yards from scrimmage. Adrian Peterson had tons of big plays. You look at any big wide receiver and you could put us right there with them. We’ll make big plays.”

Someone told McCoy that former teammate Michael Vick, now with the Jets, said he wouldn’t race Chris Johnson but he would be happy to come back and race McCoy.

“That’s just Mike,” McCoy said. “If you ask him who’s the best back, he’ll tell you me.”