During his seven-year career with the Dolphins and Bears, Cox was named to the Pro Bowl three times and assessed more than $130,000 in fines for bizarre behavior such as throwing his helmet and making obscene gestures at fans. "In some cases I've been an idiot," Cox admitted when he signed a one-year, $500,000 contract with the Jets in August.
Under the thumb of Parcells, Cox has settled into his role as a versatile backup and elder statesman. "It's a process of maturing," Cox said last week. "Those other situations were chaotic and frustrating. But here I'm not a big-money free agent and the defense isn't built around me. I can just relax and play?
Playing mostly outside linebacker in third-down situations, Cox has three sacks, is sixth on the team with 25 solo tackles and is working to change his reputation from madman to wise man. He gave a stirring pregame speech before the Oct. 25 game against the Falcons, his first start for New York, and then contributed five tackles in the Jets' 28-3 rout Last week Cox was rewarded for his play in the first half of the season with a two-year, $2.2 million contract extension.
"I'm probably more passionate about the game than I have been the last two or three years, but at the same time I don't feel like I have to scream and holler anymore," says Cox. "On this team the coach takes care of that"
The End Zone
It's the Thought That Counts
Upon arriving at Rams Park last Friday, St. Louis players and coaches were greeted by a large, hand-painted sign outside the facility that read, TO BELIEVE IS TO HAVE THE POWER. WE BELIEVE. Two days later the Rams lost to the Falcons, 37-15. It was the club's worst defeat in 24 games under coach Dick Vermeil.