Fletcher Cox finishes off his NFL career with a farewell to the Eagles and family by his side

Olivia Reiner, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in Football

PHILADELPHIA — Experiencing the magnitude of the moment, Fletcher Cox let out a sigh into the microphone in front of him.

The gust of air that emanated from his 6-foot-4, 310-pound frame was so strong that the NovaCare Complex auditorium sound system crackled in response. Cox laughed, then took another breath, as he put his emotions into perspective for the audience in front of him.

“Today’s a very special day for me,” Cox said. “It’s a very special day for my family. It’s a very special day for this organization. And it’s a very, very special day for the city of Philadelphia.”

Nearly one month after the defensive tackle announced his retirement on social media following 12 seasons with the Eagles, the 33-year-old Cox made the news official once more in a press conference Tuesday.

He ended his career the same way it began. When the Eagles selected Cox in the first round, No. 12 overall of the 2012 draft out of Mississippi State, his family made the trip from Yazoo City, Miss., to New York to support him. Twelve years and one Super Bowl ring later, more than 20 family members traveled to South Philly to attend Cox’s in-person retirement announcement.

“You never forget who helped you along the way,” Cox said. “Who’s still helping you. Who’s still got your back. Going into this whole thing, my family is a big part of what I’ve accomplished.”


Cox partially attributed his success to his mother, Malissa, who gave him permission to play football at Yazoo City High School. He recalled one of her common refrains as she got used to his football endeavors — “I don’t want my baby to get hurt.”

Eventually, Cox said that she realized that she had to let him grow up and be a young man, allowing him to make decisions for himself.

“You did just that,” Cox said. “And I thank and love you for that.”

Her baby didn’t get hurt all that often in his professional career. The six-time Pro Bowl, four-time All-Pro defensive tackle played in 188 regular-season games out of a possible 195. A reliable fixture on the defensive front, Cox is tied for third-most regular-season games in franchise history.


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