Fletcher Cox said he basically lived in the Eagles’ training room last week being treated for an abdominal injury that prevented him from practicing all week leading up to Sunday’s game against the Bengals.
The injury, though, did not prevent Cox from playing – and playing a lot and playing well – against Cincinnati.
“I think I said this like a couple of years ago, ‘in order for me to not play a game, you have to literally break a bone in my body where I can’t absolutely walk,’” said Cox on Tuesday where he no doubt was camped out again in the training room.
“I’ll do anything for this team. I’ve shown it. If I can go, I’m going. It is what it is … I’m just looking forward to staying on top of treatment, staying on top of everything I need to do to make sure that I’m ready to roll.”
This is Cox’s ninth season in Philadelphia after being drafted in the first-round back in 2012. He doesn’t have to prove anything to anybody anymore, not after making five straight Pro Bowls, earning one first-team, All-Pro selection, and winning a Super Bowl.
A case could even be made that nobody should wear No. 91 again in Eagles history.
Yet Cox answered the bell when it would have been easy to take a week off to heal fully. He has missed only two games to injury in his career and has played in 128 games with 122 starts.
“I just listened to the training staff,” said Cox. “Those guys, I trusted them … I basically lived in the training room all last week. So just trying to get myself ready to go. I know what kind of injury it was, and I had to be smart about it.
“Towards the end of the week, I was able to move around a little bit more. Woke up on Sunday and felt like I could do whatever it takes to help this team.”
Cox absolutely helped the team.
He played 55 snaps (76 percent), more than the other three DTs on the team: Malik Jackson (42 snaps, 58 percent), Javon Hargrave (32, 44 percent), and Hassan Ridgeway (15, 21 percent).
He recorded his first sack and had three hits on Bengals QB Joe Burrow, part of a team effort that rang up eight sacks and 18 QB hits, which was more than any other NFL team recorded in Week 3.
Still, the dominating effort up front did not lead to victory but a 23-23 tie.
Cox is doing more leading not just by example, which is his customary way, but vocally.
“Just grabbing certain guys,” he said. “On Saturday, I spoke to the guys and told them a few words. I think that’s it. When you speak, guys listen, so I grabbed a couple guys individually, I grabbed a group of guys, and I told them, ‘Hey, man. It’s OK, things will get better.’”
Cox isn’t done grabbing guys either.
He said he talked to a few more on Tuesday when he arrived for work.
“I saw a few guys, asked them how they were doing,” he said. “My biggest thing is if I have a younger guy like Casey Toohill that’s watching me every day, and if I’m sitting around, moping around with my head down every day, feeling sorry for myself, well, he’s going to start feeling sorry for himself.
“Right now, it’s no time for nobody to feel sorry for themselves. You gotta just keep playing hard, finish the game and win the ballgame.”
The challenge to keep their heads high figures to get tougher with three rugged games ahead, beginning with a trip to San Francisco on Sunday night followed by a visit to Pittsburgh then a home date with Baltimore. Those teams are a combined 7-2.
“Right now, basically we’re winless, so we have to do something to turn things around,” said Cox. “I’ll always believe in this team. People always counted us out. People always say this, say that, but the guys in the locker room, man, there’s no place I’d rather be than go out fighting with those guys every day in practice.”
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