Bryan Cox was a 6'4" linebacker for the Western Illinois Leathernecks. He was named as a First Team All-America selection by the Football Gazzette as a Senior in 1990. Miami selected him in the fifth round of the 1991 NFL Entry Draft with the 113th overall pick.
Cox started 13 games as the Dolphins right outside linebacker as a rookie, racking up a total of 61 tackles along with two sacks. Miami finished out the season 8-8.
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Cox really started to blossom in his sophomore campaign, helping lead the Dolphins to an 11-5 record and the AFC Championship game. The defense allowed an AFC third best 1,600 rushing yards, while Cox totalled a team high 127 tackles, five forced fumbles, and 14 sacks, earning a Pro Bowl selection in the process. He was also a first-team All-Pro, starting 16 games at right outside linebacker. In a week three 19-17 victory over the Seattle Seahawks, Cox collected two sacks and an interception.
Miami changed over to a 4-3 defense in 1993, and Cox was placed at the right linebacker spot, starting all 16 games. The team started out 9-2, but lost their last five to miss the playoffs. Cox again led the team with 122 tackles, four forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries. He also collected five sacks and an interception. He was always an emotional spark plug for the Dolphins, evidenced by his infamous episode against the Buffalo Bills, where he brandished both middle fingers at the entire crowd at Ralph Wilson Stadium prior to a week three matchup. Miami won, 22-13.
Cox earned his second Pro Bowl selection in 1994, starting 16 games at middle linebacker, leading the team with 100 tackles. Miami finished the season 10-6, winning the wildcard game against the Kansas City Chiefs, 27-17 before losing the divisional playoff to the San Diego Chargers, 22-21. Miami's defense intercepted an NFL high 23 passes while allowing an AFC second lowest 1,430 rushing yards.
In 1995, Cox was selected to his second consecutive Pro Bowl, and third overall. He again started every game at middle linebacker, finishing the year with a team high 119 tackles, 7.5 sacks and three forced fumbles. The Dolphins went 9-7 before bowing out in the wildcard round to the Buffalo Bills, 37-22. The defense tied for the AFC lead by allowing only seven rushing touchdowns.
Cox would go on to play seven more seasons in the NFL for the Chicago Bears, the New York Jets, the New England Patriots and the New Orleans Saints. In 77 starts over five seasons for Miami, he totalled 529 tackles and 31.5 sacks with three interceptions and 14 forced fumbles.
After retiring, he worked as an analyst for TVG Network, and was later an assistant coach for the Jets, the Cleveland Browns and the Dolphins. He is currently a defensive assistant with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Miami has a long history of game changing linebackers. Who was the most dominant linebacker in Dolphins history?
Nick Buoniconti (661 votes)
Larry Gordon (14 votes)
AJ Duhe (269 votes)
Zach Thomas (2855 votes)
Mike Kolen (11 votes)
John Offerdahl (403 votes)
Doug Swift (22 votes)
Brian Cox (158 votes)
Bob Brudzinski (23 votes)
4416 total votes