STARKVILLE, Miss.- This week Mississippi State football opened the Joe Moorhead era of football with spring practice. Tuesday drills marked the first time the Coach Moorhead and his staffing coaching staff took the practice fields.
Among former MSU players was one special former Dawg, Super Bowl Champion Fletcher Cox of the Philadelphia Eagles donned a Mississippi State jacket and watched spring practice in unusual cool temperatures for the first day of spring.
According to Steve Robertson of 247sports.com,
“I just wanted to come back and show my face around campus,” Cox said with a smile. “I am here to watch the ‘Dawgs practice on the first day of spring practice. I just wanted to come out and see what all was going on.
Cox was one of several Mississippi State’ former players who were contacted by Moorhead about coming “home” to Starkville. Bulldogs’ first year head coach wanted the players to be aware that even though the program has undergone a change in leadership, that Mississippi State football facilities were still available to NFL Dawgs looking to stay in shape. They are still considered a part of the Mississippi State “family.”
“I talk with Coach Moorhead here and there and we shoot a text message back and forth,” Cox said. I sat and talked with him for about 45 minutes. We talked ball and just about life. He’s excited and ready to roll.
“He’s a great coach. His personality reminds me of my coach right now, Coach (Doug) Pederson. He approaches everything with a positive attitude. He has a lot of energy, but at the same time it’s about the job. It’s about winning games.”
Cox noticed a lot of changes that have taken place at Mississippi State since his early declaration for the NFL draft in 2012. “things have changed tremendously.” Cox said. “I think the biggest thing is the format of things. The practice fields have changed a lot. We didn’t have a turf field outside when I was here. It was all grass fields then.
“I like all of the changes on campus. I think it gets the attention of the kids in Mississippi, so they will consider staying around here. It’s an exciting place to call home.”
Cox, a native of Yazoo City, MS, the talented defensive tackle has made himself a home in Philadelphia, PA. He is a now a key part in the Eagles’ defense that help lead the team to their first Super Bowl win.
Cox grew up dreaming of hoisting the Lombardi trophy. He shares that the moment when it all came together was surreal.
“It was a great moment for sure. It really is,” Cox said. “The best moment after winning was seeing my mom crying tears of joy. “It made all the hard work I put in really special.” said Cox. “I will always get to walk around as Super Bowl Champion and that’s really special.”
Cox believes that he can be positive influence for new Bulldogs who aspire to make it to the NFL. He hopes that some hard-working Dawgs can see him and understand their football futures are attainable if they maximize their opportunities.
“The biggest thing about it all is making the most of your opportunity,” Cox shared. “Not every kid is lucky enough to be able to put a helmet on that has Mississippi State on the side. You should take advantage of every rep, every meeting, every run session and everything you have to do to improve. That’s the biggest advice I can give to those kids. Don’t miss an opportunity to get better.”
The 2018 season will be the seventh professional season for Cox. The talented defensive tackle has been selected to the Pro Bowl three consecutive years and has been selected All-Pro in three of his seven years in the NFL.
In 2016, Cox signed a six-year contract extension worth $103 million with $63 million guaranteed. At the time, it was the richest contact for a non-quarterback in NFL history. As part of the extension, Cox received a reported $26 million as a signing bonus.