When the Philadelphia Eagles’ 2023 season ended earlier this month in Tampa, FL, there was a growing sense that All-Pro center and future Hall of Famer Jason Kelce played his last game with the team and in the NFL.
However, it also appears that standout Eagles defensive lineman Fletcher Cox might’ve played his last game in the NFL.
In a radio appearance on 97.5 The Fanatic on Tuesday, Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer was asked if those two players will be back next season and gave a surprising answer regarding Cox.
“I still think Jason is leaning towards retirement. Obviously, he will take some time and think about it. The same applies to Fletcher Cox. He has not said anything, but other players have, and from what I am hearing behind the scenes he is probably leaning towards retirement as well.”
It’s a shock to hear McLane believes Cox could retire, as he’s coming off one of his best years with the Eagles in recent memory.
The veteran defensive tackle was a force in the middle of Philly’s defensive line, recording 33 combined tackles, 17 quarterback hits, five sacks, and three tackles for loss. The 33-year-old looks like he still has a couple more years left in the tank, but he’s also set to be an unrestricted free agent this offseason.
With the Eagles having Jordan Davis, Jalen Carter, and Milton Williams at the DT spot, the team might be ready to go with a full youth movement.
Speaking of Davis, he spoke about the impact Cox had on him and talked as if the six-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle wasn’t coming back when the team cleaned out their lockers.
“That’s something me and Jalen [Carter] was talking about earlier. Just how we’re gonna take care of this team and take care of the D-Line since Fletch is gone,” Davis said (h/t John McMullen of Eagles Today on SI.com’s Fan Nation).
“I think Milt [Milton Willliams] would be the oldest player on our [defensive tackle room] so we’re a very young team but at the end of the day we can’t use that as a crutch, can’t use it as an excuse. Can’t use Fletch as our security blanket, as our backup because he’s not there anymore.”
As with Kelce, Cox hasn’t said anything about his playing future going forward. However, if he were to retire as well, that would be another huge loss from a special era of Eagles football.
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