Has Fletcher Cox played his last game as an Eagle? originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
As for the cleaning?
“I had a bunch of stuff in there,” Cox said. “I needed to get it cleaned."
Cox, 33, on Wednesday packed up 12 years worth of buildup and it’s fair to wonder if the six-time Pro Bowler has already played his last game with the team that drafted him in the first round back in 2012.
So much of this week’s attention has gone to the likely retirement of Jason Kelce but another all-time great might be leaving too.
After playing on a one-year deal with the Eagles in 2023, Cox might not be back next year.
“You just see where the chips fall,” Cox said. “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.”
A bit later, Davis spoke to reporters as if Cox was definitely leaving.
Davis at one point even had to make sure he didn’t get too emotional talking about his veteran mentor Cox.
“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.”
Davis said he and the other young defensive linemen can no longer use Cox as a “security blanket” anymore because Cox isn’t going to be around.
The Eagles drafted Davis and Carter in back-to-back first rounds and the Eagles are going to be relying on both of them going forward. Davis said he and his former Georgia teammates have already talked about needing to take care of the D-line room going forward.
Cox is an all-time great and he was very good again in 2023. He’s no longer a Pro Bowler but Cox played the most snaps of any interior defensive lineman on the team and had 5 sacks, 33 tackles, 17 QB hits, 3 TFLs and 49 total pressures.
Cox played the 2023 season on a one-year deal worth $10 million. And he was worth it.
“Turn the tape on,” Cox said. “I feel like I dominated games, took over games. No. 1, was a good teammate, a good leader and loved being around the guys. So it was definitely exciting.”
There was a strong bond between Cox and Davis the last two years. When Cox missed a rare game in October, Davis commented on how weird it was to play without Cox there. But it sounds like that might be the reality in 2024.
It certainly seems like there’s a changing of the guard at the defensive tackle position in Philly. If Davis and Carter are able to be successful in the NFL, they’re going to do it with a bunch of the lessons they learned from Cox, whom Davis called a “pillar of the organization.”
“His presence is definitely going to be missed,” Davis said. “Even looking at his locker it’s, like, empty. It’s like, damn. Damn.”