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Former Bulldogs Standout Fletcher Cox Retires from NFL

Former Mississippi State standout defensive tackle Fletcher Cox announced his retirement on Instagram via a heartfelt message.

Former Mississippi State standout defensive tackle Fletcher Cox announced his retirement from the NFL on Sunday.

Cox spent all 12 seasons with the Philadelphia Eagles, who selected him with the 12th overall pick of the 2012 NFL Draft. He is the seventh-highest-drafted player in Mississippi State history.

Throughout his time in Philadelphia, Cox was named to six Pro Bowls and made one All-Pro appearance. Additionally, he helped lead the Eagles to a Super Bowl victory in the 2017-18 season.

Cox is perhaps the best defensive tackle in the history of the franchise as he leads the position in Pro Bowls and career sacks (70). His 188 games played for Philadelphia are also the second-most by a defensive player.

In his junior year in Starkville, Miss., Cox collected 56 tackles, including 14.5 for loss and five sacks. He was named a First Team All-SEC member and First Team All-American for his efforts.

The 33-year-old announced his retirement on Instagram via a heartfelt message. Here's the transcript:

Eagles fans,

April 26, 2012 was a special day that changed my life forever when Andy Reid called me to say I would be drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles. I fulfilled a lifelong dream by making it to the NFL, but what I didn't know at the time was how much of an honor and privilege it would be to represent the City of Philadelphia and the Eagles organization for the next 12 seasons.

I want to thank Jeffrey Lurie, Howie Roseman, Doug Pederson, Nick Sirianni, Don Smolenski, and the entire support staff for the Philadelphia Eagles. There are too many people to name everyone, but you have all made a tremendous impact on my life and my career. I've learned so much from each and every one of you, and you have no idea how much I appreciate the many ways you helped me grow not just as a player, but as a young man into the man I am today.

Thank you to my mom, Melissa, for your incredible support and for being a role model who inspired me to be my best. My sisters, Nikki and Pam, thank you for always being there to listen and understand what I was going through. To my girlfriend, Kaycee, thank you for sticking by my side through all the ups and downs. To my late brother, Shaddrick, you always told me how proud you were of me and how hard it would be to get out of where we came from. Everything I accomplished since your passing has been for you.

BG, Kelce, Lane – you guys will always have a special place in my heart. Trent Cole – I'm so thankful for you taking me under your wing in my first year. I can only hope I was able to have the same kind of impact on others that you had on me. DB – you and I have grown together over the years and share a similar story. You don't know what you mean to me. Vinny – we went from not knowing each other at all to being in the same group at the Combine and then being drafted by the same team. We were roommates as rookies and next-door neighbors as veterans. You are more than a best friend to me; you are a big brother. To all my other teammates and coaches – I will forever cherish the brotherhood. We created memories that will last a lifetime.

To Eagles fans everywhere – there is not a fan base in all of sports that is as passionate as you. You are intense and demanding, but it's because of how much you care. After spending my career here, I wouldn't have wanted it any other way. I'll never forget the feeling of running out of the tunnel at Lincoln Financial Field, or the roar of the crowd after making a big play. One of the proudest moments of my life was holding up that Lombardi Trophy at the Rocky steps while looking out into the sea of fans. It was breathtaking to realize what we were able to accomplish and how much it meant to so many.

Growing up in Yazoo City, there aren't many athletes who have a chance to compete at a professional level, let alone dream of becoming a World Champion. I'm proud to represent my hometown, the State of Mississippi, and Mississippi State University, but Philly has been my home for the last 12 years and will always hold a special place in my heart.

After much reflection, I have made the decision to retire from the game of football. I gave everything I had to this team and to this city. I don't know what's next for me, but I do know that I'm forever grateful for my time here in Philadelphia and with the Eagles organization.

Go Birds!
Fletcher Cox