A steady rain fell on the NovaCare Complex practice fields on Tuesday as the Eagles kicked off the second week of Organized Team Activities. Another consistent presence was in action sporting a white No. 91 jersey - defensive tackle Fletcher Cox.
The Pro Bowl lineman missed the first week of the voluntary OTAs to be with family, but Cox lined up at his usual left defensive tackle spot with the first-team unit in between Brandon Graham and Destiny Vaeao at the start of 11-on-11 drills. After practice, Cox stressed that he will be here for the rest of the voluntary offseason program leading up to the mandatory minicamp beginning June 13.
After signing a marquee six-year contract last offseason, Cox understands why he was under scrutiny for missing the first week of OTAs.
"I know it's very important that I'm here," Cox said.
Last year, Cox earned Pro Bowl honors for the second straight season after leading the team with 6.5 sacks. He finished the year with 53 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, and 18 quarterback hurries. He dismisses any notion that he had a bad 2016 campaign.
"I went to the Pro Bowl, so I don't think it was a down year. I had a solid year," Cox said. "It could have been better and as a team it could have been better."
In the offseason, the Eagles bolstered the defensive line trading for defensive tackle Tim Jernigan, signing defensive end Chris Long, and using this year's first-round pick on another end in Derek Barnett. Count Cox as a fan of the team's offseason moves.
"I'm loving everything this organization is doing. I think this organization is moving forward," Cox said.
On Tuesday, the defense's best player was back on the field. And as long as Cox is wreaking havoc starting September 10 at Washington then no one will remember that he took a week off in May to spend time with his family.