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Free-agent DT Gerald McCoy has no plans to retire: 'I can play this game at a high level'

Six-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman Gerald McCoy has no plans to retire after missing the entire 2020 season due to injury.

"For me, I just love this game so much, it's still fun to me," McCoy told Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times in a phone conversation Monday. "I love competing. I just know what my mindset was going into last season and I don't want an injury or what the NFL deems 'age' to be a derailment and finish like that. I know I can still be an asset to a team, whether it's sparingly, as a starter, in the locker room, whatever it is. In training camp, a mentor to the young kids.

"I just know I have so much more to give this game, even if for a short period of time."

In nine years in Tampa Bay as one of the Bucs' top playmakers, McCoy generated 54.5 sacks from his interior defensive line position. After playing 2019 in Carolina, he signed with Dallas last season as part of the Cowboys' plan to remake the defensive line. McCoy's run with the Cowboys didn't make it out of training camp, as he tore his quad during the first day in pads which ended his season.

After 10 seasons, including an All-Pro bid in 2013, McCoy could have retired having had a successful career. At 33 years old, McCoy could've decided rehab wasn't worth the grind. However, the former first-round pick said he wants to show his young family what perseverance looks like firsthand.

"My twins don't understand me not playing because I told them I got hurt at the playground," McCoy said. "I had my crutches and my brace on. They said, 'Oh, daddy will be okay.' Then opening day came and the Cowboys were playing, and they said, 'Daddy, why are you still home? Are you going to the game?' My family has never seen anything break me and I don't plan on them seeing this break me, either.

"I don't want my family to have to look outside the four walls around them to find an example of what it's like to persevere."

McCoy's agent, Ben Dogra, told Stroud that a few teams have inquired about McCoy's rehab but doesn't expect any serious offers for the veteran until after the 2021 NFL Draft passes, and clubs fill out the rest of their rosters.

"I understand that I've been injured, and I honestly believe the lack of interest in me being on a team right now is because of my injury," McCoy said. "I haven't played in a year and I'm 33 years old. But man, when I still tell you I can play this game at a high level, I know I can.

"I just need that one team. And it will happen. I'm not saying I'm desperate. I just need that one team that will make that decision and I believe they'll get more than they bargained for and I'm ready to show that. ... I'm locked in. Whenever a team calls and says, 'Gerald, it's time,' I'll be ready."

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