Not only did Fletcher Cox play through an oblique injury last week, but he had his best game of the season, dominating overtime against the Bengals to give the Eagles a shot to win the game.
Of course he did.
Because on a team of underachievers, they’re highest-paid player is still performing at a high level and giving it his all. Cox is 29 now and despite an injury that would have kept most guys out of a game, he had a sack and three quarterback hits against the Bengals. He dominated in overtime.
“I mean, Fletch a different dude, man,” Javon Hargrave said. “He got that country strong, so I’m not really surprised. He got some real-life mutant abilities, so I wasn’t really surprised."
We shouldn’t be either.
Because during his nine-year career with the Eagles after they drafted him in the first-round back in 2012, Cox has missed a grand total of three games. The last time he missed any time was early in the 2017 season when he missed two games with a calf injury. That season, he was supposed to miss another game to take advantage of a mini bye week but returned on Thursday Night Football to help the Eagles take down the Panthers. He played 65 snaps that night, finishing with half a sack and two QB hits in a 28-23 win.
But this is what Cox does. He refuses to miss time. Even last year when he clearly wasn’t himself at the beginning of the season coming off toe surgery, he was still out there for every game.
Cox is still injured heading into this weekend’s game against the 49ers, but of course he’s going to play. He doesn’t even have a game status this week because there’s no question.
“I think I said this, like, probably a couple years ago, in order for me to not to be put back in the game you had to literally break a bone in my body, where I absolutely can’t walk,” Cox said this week. “I’ll do anything for his team, man. I’ve shown it, and if I can go I’m going. It is what it is. I progressed a lot since last week. And I'm just looking forward to staying on top of treatment, staying on top of everything I need to do to make sure that I'm ready to roll."
That means something to his teammates.
Early in his career, as a first-round pick, Cox was more of a lead by example guy. But in recent seasons, he’s become more of a vocal leader. Still, he leads with his actions first and his toughness impresses everyone.
Cox is already the best defensive tackle in Eagles history. He has been to five straight Pro Bowls and was a member of the all-decade team for the 2010s. There’s a pretty good chance he might end up in Canton.
All that is impressive. But he’s just as tough as he is good.
“Fletch, he's a tough guy man,” said Brandon Graham, who has been Cox’s teammate for his entire run in Philly. “I mean, I gotta say, 'one,' because he's the guy I've been with the whole time. And you know, just to see just him grinding every day and to know that some of the injuries he has had, seen him push through, and like, 'man, now you back already?' Fletch is tough, man.
“It only boosts morale for me, to make sure I stay by his side, you know, to make sure I keep myself injury-free, and you know, whatever else I can push through, I'm gonna push through."