Former Miami Dolphins linebacker Bryan Cox is back home. He's on the Dolphins training facility grounds, making quarterbacks uneasy.
But this time, he's the coach.
"It's like being home again," Cox said. "When I came down here, and I stepped off the plane from Cleveland, I felt like I was alive again." Cox served as a member of Eric Mangini's staff in Cleveland prior to the Browns replacing Mangini. While looking for a job, Cox ran in to Dolphins head coach Tony Sparano, who found a spot for him with Miami.
And, even legendary Dolphins coach, and the man who drafted Cox in the fifth round of the 1991 Draft, Don Shula agreed. "He told me it was a pretty smart thing to do," Sparano reported.
Meeting with the media for the first time on Tuesday, Cox became a big part of both the media's attention, and Sparano's.
When asked about bringing in Cox, Sparano said, "I just thought this guy is as straight as a straight shooter comes. He tells it like it is, and I thought that from a player standpoint, that they would appreciate that, coming from a player."
As the new coach gets set working with the Dolphins linebackers, his reputation come with him. "He'll still cuss you out," linebacker Jason Taylor states. "He still has an edge to him. He's still Bryan Cox."
Although, Cox himself doesn't fully agree.
"To me, my passion was on the field and it was about playing like a man, and it was about being treated like a man. You didn't read about me being arrested for anything." But as a coach and his game day mentality now, Cox says, "Very quiet. I believe that the game is for the players. It's not about the coaches, so I kind of keep my mouth shut."
Taylor has made an effort to ensure that the younger Dolphins players know who Cox is, and what he has meant to the Dolphins franchise. "Just Google 'Bryan Cox,' and they'll see him calling people number one," Taylor explained.
But it's not just about the things Cox can bring to the young guys. Sparano explains:
"You know a guy like [Jason Taylor], who's got, I believe, he corrected me the other night, but 132.5 sacks. I left out the half and [Cox] told me how hard it was to get the half, and he's completely correct. But, that being said, a guy like [Taylor] hearing from Bryan, he knows Bryan has done it, you know, and the two of those guys bounce ideas off each other a little bit, and then the young guys are looking at Bryan with big eyes and are understanding that he's been out there, and this guy has been a really good player in this league, I think that's done nothing but help us."
Cox is happy to be back in Miami, and ready to give everything he has for the team, and the game.
"There's nothing that replaces this game that I love. And, so, if I had my dream, I would have a heart attack and doe on the football field. That would be like the ultimate place for me."
Until then, the Dolphins are happy to have Cox on the coaching staff, and the players are happy to listen and learn. For a team that ranked 10th in the league in sacks last year, Cox's instruction can only make the team that much more dangerous. And, if some of his passion wears off on the younger players, that might be a good thing too.
"I have no regrets," Cox says.