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The Last Word: Cox's Humble Beginnings


The Eagles and DT Fletcher Cox have agreed to terms on a six-year extension that will keep him in Philadelphia through 2022...

  • Welcome to The Last Word with Dave Spadaro, a question-and-answer feature that runs weekly and highlights some of the provocative players, coaches and faces who have shaped this Eagles franchise. Today: Eagles defensive end Fletcher Cox, who has become one of the best defensive linemen in the NFL.*

DAVE SPADARO: At what age did you starting playing and falling in love with the game of football?

FLETCHER COX: I think I was in eighth grade. My mom (Melissa) wasn't going to let me play but I told the coach I wanted to play and he went to my mom and talked to her and kind of forced her to let me play. She finally signed the paper, we had the physical and then I started playing. She didn't like the idea of me playing. It took some time for her to give in.

DS: What did you play before then?

FC: I played Little League Baseball. I was pretty nice. First baseman. Could hit a little bit. Run. I loved it.

DS: Were you always the biggest kid in class?

FC: No, not at all. I didn't really start growing, growing until high school. I was a tall kid, but I didn't start filling out until high school. I was never big. Just tall.

DS: What position did you start playing?

FC: In flag football I played quarterback, so that was pretty fun. Here was my game: Make one read, and if it wasn't there, take off and run. That's what I did. That's all I knew. I ran and ran and ran.

DS: What motivated you to become a great football player?

FC: I just want to be that person who proves everybody wrong. People who said to me along the way that I can't do it or anybody who thought it. I'm just a kid coming from a small town. People don't make it out of Yazoo City, Mississippi. There aren't a lot of people who are blessed enough to be professional football players, much less from there. It's something I always think about: Coming from where I came to here. It's been a journey.


DS:** Who is the most famous person to come from Yazoo City?

FC: I'm going to say one name: Willie Brown. Hall of Famer (Willie Brown played 16 seasons in the AFL and NFL with Denver and Oakland and is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame).

DS: In what way does Yazoo City recognize Willie Brown? Is there a Willie Brown Way or a Boulevard named after him?

FC: No, but there's a Hall of Fame diner there run by his family and everybody goes there for lunch. Great place. You walk in and there is so much Willie Brown memorabilia. It's a real good place. Nice place.

DS: Word on the streets is that there's a Fletcher Cox burger there that has crumbled bacon and bleu cheese. What's the deal?

FC: I didn't come up with that burger. Mrs. Brown came up with the idea. Good burger. Get yourself a burger and a bug eye when you're there.

DS: What's a bug eye?

FC: You don't know what that is? It's a snow cone with all kinds of different flavors. Goes great with a burger.

DS: How do you like your burger?

FC: Medium well.

DS: Do you know how great Willie Brown was as a player? He was a little bit before your time, you know.

FC: I met him when I was a kid. He had a nephew who played at my high school and Willie used to send our high school cleats and things like that. Everybody knows of him or about him. He's a legend. We have a few kids who move on, get scholarships and play in college. Not many. Small town. Everybody knows everybody.

DS: How many kids were in your high school graduation class?

FC: I can't even remember. That's a shame.

DS: Have you gone back to your high school reunion?

FC: I haven't been out of high school 10 years yet, Dave.

DS: I remember I had a five-year reunion ...

FC: No, no. Every 10 years. We don't do five. I'd like to go to my 10th, if I'm able to go. That would be fun.

DS: What do awards like the Ed Block Courage Award mean to you?


FC:** They mean a lot. I want to thank all of my teammates for voting for me. They didn't have to do that. They know the stuff I've been through and they've been very supportive and I appreciate that. I voted for somebody else. I didn't think I would get this award. These guys are the guys I got to battle with, so to know they voted for me, it means so much. I found out on my way to practice and, I'm telling you Dave, I think it kind of messed up my day a little bit. Everybody kept asking me why I was so quiet during the day and I just couldn't talk about it. It's special. I'm emotional about it.

DS: You came in as a 4-3 defensive lineman and now you're a 3-4 lineman. A lot of times that means you have to give up personal glory – sacks, tackles, all of that – for the defense. How was that for you?

FC: I've never thought about that part of it. To me it was just about going through the process of learning something new. I want to show the entire league that I can play in any system. It's me, not the system. Nobody can label me as 4-3 defensive lineman. I played 3-technique my whole career and then I switched and I'm still out there making plays and helping my team. It's a fun challenge. I'm willing to accept that challenge.

DS: Do you want to make the Pro Bowl? Does it matter to you?

FC: Yeah, it does.

DS: Why does it matter?

FC: It's another kind of bit of recognition that my hard work pays off. That's all. To me, what would be really special is being named All-Pro. That's what I want from an individual standpoint.

DS: Weren't you All-Pro last year?

FC: Second team. First team is what I want. That would be real nice.

DS: Is there a Fletcher Cox Boulevard going up in Yazoo City any time soon?

FC: Working on it. Actually working on it.

DS: When it's done can you invite me down?

FC: To get a picture in front of the sign? Of course. You're always welcome in Yazoo City.

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