Advertisement

Another Eagles legend announces his retirement from NFL

Longtime Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox announced his retirement from the NFL on Sunday afternoon after 12 seasons in the league and all with the Eagles.

Cox, 33, was a first-round pick out of Mississippi State and ended up being one of the greatest players in franchise history.

At locker cleanout day in January, Cox claimed he hadn’t yet made a decision but cleaned out his locker stall at the NovaCare Complex completely.

“You just see where the chips fall,” Cox said in January. “Obviously, they drafted some young talent and those guys are really good. They’ve came a long way since they got here. Jordan (Davis) and Jalen (Carter), they did a really, really good job of taking it upon themselves to learn the game and learn to be a pro.”

In his 12-year career, Cox played in 188 games with 182 starts and finished with 70 sacks, 88 tackles for loss, 16 forced fumbles, 14 fumble recoveries and over 500 combined tackles. He was also an integral part of two Super Bowl teams and played a huge role in the Super Bowl LII win to cap the 2017 season.

Cox was named as a Pro Bowler for six straight seasons from 2015-2020 and was a first-team All-Pro in 2018. He was also named a second-team All-Pro three times and was named as a member of the NFL’s All-Decade team for the 2010s.

Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie released a lengthy statement on Cox’s retirement:

“From the moment he was drafted as the 12th overall pick in 2012 until his final game, Fletcher Cox was a dominant force on our defensive line. A six-time Pro Bowler, a four-time All-Pro, and a member of the 2010s All-Decade Team, Fletcher is an all-time great Eagle whose contributions made him one of the most renowned defensive tackles of a generation and built him a strong case for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

“Over the course of his 12-year career, Fletcher finished with the most sacks and games played by a defensive tackle in franchise history and was the centerpiece of a defense that helped deliver the first Super Bowl Championship to the City of Philadelphia. Beyond his statistical accolades, any opposing coach would tell you their game-planning could not start until they figured out how to deal with No. 91. Whether he was wreaking havoc in the backfield or taking on double teams to set up others for success, Fletcher thrived in every style of defense he played during his career. He was an incredibly tough and durable player who put his body on the line week in and week out for his teammates. You could always rely on him to set the tone on gamedays, whether it was with a chilling inspirational speech or a big play in a key moment.

“What made Fletcher truly special is that his influence extends even further behind the scenes. The six-time team captain was a key figure in establishing a championship culture in our building. As nasty as he was on the field, he was a master of his craft while also serving as a big brother and mentor to so many young players over the years. He had a tremendous amount of respect for the game of football and the legacy he would one day be leaving behind, and that was reflected in the way he set the standard every single day whether on the practice field or in the locker room. That standard will live on for many years thanks to his leadership and the respect he earned from everyone in the building.

“We are incredibly thankful for everything he gave to our organization and to the City of Philadelphia over the years, and we wish him all the best as he embarks on the future.”

The only players in franchise history with more Pro Bowls than Cox’s six as a member of the Eagles are Chuck Bednarik (8), Brian Dawkins (7), Jason Peters (7), Reggie White (7) and Jason Kelce (7).

And Cox ranks fifth on the Eagles’ all-time sacks list with 70, which is also the most of all defensive tackles. He trails just Reggie White (124), Trent Cole (85 1/2), Clyde Simmons (76) and Brandon Graham (73).

His 188 career regular season games are the second most ever by an Eagles defensive player behind just his longtime teammate Graham, who has played in 195. During his career, Cox was incredibly durable. The Eagles relied on him week in and week out.

In the 2010s, Cox was one of just two players in the league with 45+ sacks and 10+ forced fumbles. The other is three-time Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald.

The biggest hint that Cox was thinking about retiring this offseason came from an emotional Davis on cleanout day.

“I knew it was coming but I didn’t know it was going to come this way,” Davis said. “When you watch a guy growing up, he’s kind of like your hero. I got a chance to work with him every day. Very fortunate. And we have to see him walk away. Granted, he walked away on his own terms. Better than a lot of people can say.

“But watching him walk away, it hurts. It stings. And it hurts me more so because I didn’t get to send him out the right way. We didn’t send him out riding into the sunset, it’s kind of like we crashed and burned. And he gotta walk out, he gotta limp out, he gotta crawl out.”

Just like Kelce earlier this offseason, Cox is walking away from the game after playing well in 2023. Despite turning 33 during his final NFL season, Cox still started 15 games and had 5 sacks, 17 QB hits, 3 TFLs and 33 combined tackles.

Cox also finished his career being a team captain for six straight seasons and really grew into his role as a leader late in his career, helping take over for former safety Malcolm Jenkins after he left following the 2019 season.

While Cox has spent his entire adult life as a football player, he does have interests outside of the sport. He has a love for cars and purchased a drag racing team that competes around the country. And he owns a 1,500-acre ranch called “Shady Trell Ranch,” in Jacksboro, Texas.

Subscribe to Eagle Eye anywhere you get your podcasts: 
Apple Podcasts | YouTube Music | Spotify | Stitcher | Art19 | RSSWatch on YouTube

This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.