Eagles great Fletcher Cox announces his retirement from NFL football – NBC Sports Philadelphia

Longtime Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox announced his retirement from NFL football on Sunday afternoon after 12 seasons in the league, all with the Eagles.

Cox, 33, was a first-round pick out of Mississippi State and wound up becoming one of the greatest players in franchise history.

On locker cleaning day in January, Cox claimed he hadn't made a decision yet but had completely cleaned out his locker stall at the NovaCare complex.

“You just see where the chips fall,” Cox said in January. “Obviously they've drafted some young talent and those guys are really good. They've come a long way since they got here. Jordan (Davis) and Jalen (Carter), they've done a really good job of taking it upon themselves to learn the game and learn to be professionals.”

In his 12-year career, Cox played in 188 games with 182 starts and finished with 70 sacks, 88 tackles for loss, 16 forced fumbles, 14 fumble recoveries, and over 500 combined tackles. He was also an integral part of two Super Bowl teams and played a huge role in the Super Bowl LII win in the 2017 season.

Cox was named a Pro Bowler for six consecutive seasons from 2015 to 2020 and was a first-team All-Pro in 2018. He was also named a second-team All-Pro three times and was selected as a member of the NFL's All-Decade Team for 2010.

Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie issued a lengthy statement about Cox's retirement:

“From the moment he was selected as the 12th overall pick in 2012 until his final game, Fletcher Cox was a dominant force on our defensive line. A six-time Pro Bowler, four-time All-Pro, and a member of the 2010 All-Decade Team, Fletcher is an all-time great Eagle, and his contributions have made him one of the most popular defensive tackles of a generation and built a strong case for him in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

“Over the course of his 12-year career, Fletcher finished with the most sacks and games played by a defensive tackle in franchise history and was the linchpin of a defense that helped deliver the city of Philadelphia's first Super Bowl championship. Statistical accolades. Any opposing coach will tell you that planning their game It couldn't start until they figured out how to handle No. 91. Whether he was wreaking havoc in the backfield or handling double teams to set others up for success, Fletcher thrived in every style of defense he played during his career. He was an incredibly tough and durable player , and he put his body on the line week after week for his teammates. You could always count on him to set the tone on game days, whether it was accompanied by an intimidating inspirational speech or a big play in a big moment.

“What made Fletcher truly special was that his influence extended even further behind the scenes. The six-time team captain was a key figure in establishing a championship culture in our building. As bad as he was on the field, he was a master of the game. He was a big brother and mentor to many Young players over the years, he had an enormous amount of respect for the game of football and the legacy he would one day leave behind, and this was reflected in the way he set the standard every day whether on the training field or in the dressing room, and that standard will continue to exist for many years thanks to his leadership. And the respect he gained from everyone in the building.

“We are extremely grateful for all he has given to our organization and the city of Philadelphia over the years, and we wish him the best as he embarks on the future.”

The only players in franchise history with more Pro Bowls than Cox's six as a member of the Eagles are Chuck Bednarik (8), Brian Dawkins (7), Jason Peters (7), Reggie White (7) and Jason Kelce (7).

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Cox is fifth on the Eagles' all-time sacks list with 70, which is also the most of any defensive tackle. He trails only Reggie White (124), Trent Cole (85 1/2), Clyde Simmons (76) and Brandon Graham (73).

His 188 regular-season games are the second-most ever by an Eagles defensive player behind longtime teammate Graham, who played in 195 games. Throughout his career, Cox has been incredibly durable. The Eagles relied on him week after week.

In the 2000s, Cox was one of only two players in the league with 45+ sacks and 10+ forced fumbles. The other is three-time Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald.

The biggest hint that Cox was considering retirement this offseason came from an emotional Davis on cleanup day.

“I knew it was coming but I didn't know it was going to come this way,” Davis said. “When you watch a guy grow up, he's kind of like your hero. I got a chance to work with him every day. Very lucky. And we got to see him walk away. He certainly walked away on his own terms. Better than a lot of people can say.”

But watching him walk away is painful. It stings. This hurts me even more because I couldn't send it the right way. We didn't send him riding until the sun went down, it was like we crashed and burned. He has to get out, he has to limp out, he has to crawl out.

Just like Kelce earlier this season, Cox is stepping away from the game after playing well in 2023. Despite turning 33 years old during his final NFL season, Cox still started 15 games and had 5 sacks and 17 QB hit, 3 TFLs, 33 combined tackles.

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Cox also finished his career as a team captain for six straight seasons and really grew into his role as a leader late in his career, helping take over for former safety Malcolm Jenkins after he left after the 2019 season.

While Cox has spent his life as a football player, he has interests outside the sport. He loves cars and has bought a drag racing team that competes all over the country. He owns a 1,500-acre ranch called “Shady Trell Ranch” in Jacksboro, Texas.

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