Only two weeks away from the start of training camp and the Buffalo Bills are facing a mess of uncertainty regarding their best player.
That best player, LeSean McCoy, was accused on Instagram early Tuesday of beating a woman, beating his child, beating a dog and of taking performance-enchancing drugs.
The accuser posted a photo of McCoy's apparent ex-girlfriend with a bloodied face along with a laundry list of accusations against the running back. McCoy responded by stating, also on Instagram, that he hasn't had contact with either party in months. He also denies any wrong-doing.
But time and time again with these increasingly frequent cases of NFL players physically or sexually assaulting women, we've seen that a simple denial is never the end of it. There's always more to the story.
More details emerged Tuesday night; McCoy's ex-girlfriend was beaten and robbed of some jewelry inside a home owned by McCoy. According to the report from ESPN's Mike Rodak, the jewelry was given to the woman by McCoy, who had previously requested she return it.
This isn't a good look for LeSean. Obviously. If he's tied to this physical assault in any way or it comes to light that any of the other allegations are true, you can probably forget about drafting the star running back to your fantasy teams this fall.
I'm a firm believer in innocence until guilt is proven, and McCoy will receive the benefit of the doubt from me until we find out more information.
With that said, the NFL operates within its own set of rules. The league's code of conduct states that Roger Goodell can place McCoy on the commissioner's exempt list, which would prevent him from practicing or playing in any games.
There's no telling how the league will handle these events. The NFL has been maddeningly inconsistent when it comes to cases like this, and there's definitely a history of punishment prior to prosecution.
Just ask Ben Roethlisberger.
That's where McCoy might find himself in some trouble, if he wasn't already. In the NFL's court of law, an allegation often feels like a guilty verdict. I have a hard time, knowing Goodell's history in these situations, believing that McCoy escapes scot-free.
McCoy is taking the allegations seriously enough that he hired an attorney, the same attorney that defended former NFL linebacker Ray Lewis who was indicted for a double homicide in 2000.
That's bad news for those hoping for January football in Buffalo.
The Bills were already facing an uphill battle to return to the playoffs in 2018 after making their first appearance of the century last season. There's been a complete overhaul on the offensive line, there's two new quarterbacks in tow and a very suspect receiving core. Buffalo finished 22nd in points scored and 29th in yards per game, and that was with 1,500 scrimmage yards from McCoy.
Imagine that already suspect offense without him. Or don't, because it's an ugly sight.
Josh Allen needs LeSean McCoy if he's going to have any success as a rookie. The Bills simply don't have the receivers to win through the air, so Allen's best chance at contributing to a productive offense is by handing the ball off 20 or more times a game. With McCoy in the backfield, opposing defenses must respect the run, and that opens up some much-needed space in the passing game.
Without McCoy — veteran Chris Ivory would probably fill in for any potential absence — defenses don't have to respect the run. Allen's accuracy is already suspect, and the last thing he needs is another defender dropping into coverage because the opposition isn't concerned about the running attack.
It's a bad situation all around. For starters, there's a female who had a bloodied face and bruises, and whoever delivered the blows disgusts me. If McCoy had nothing to do with it, he will still carry this burden of answering questions about the situation entering training camp.
And if he did have something to do with it, good riddance to his career.
The Bills season ... well, that'd just be collateral damage.