The Eagles don’t normally make assistant coaches available to the media, but this was a special circumstance. You see, Eagles defensive line coach Jim Washburn has been drooling over Fletcher Cox for months. So when the team traded up three spots to land the Mississippi State stud, he couldn’t contain his excitement. He fully expects to instantly add Cox to the rotation in his attacking Wide-9 scheme — and he anticipates he’ll be a heavy contributor even as a rookie.
“When God made him, he made him to be in this system right here,” Washburn said.
The coach fondly recalled the first time he saw the kid from Mississippi. Washburn was bored on a Thursday night and caught one of his nationally-televised games.
“I saw him and I called a friend of mine and I said, ‘Who is this guy, 94?’ And he said, ‘Fletcher Cox, he’s just a junior.’ And I thought, ‘Woah.’ But anyway, everybody was on board. That was a unanimous deal upstairs. That was pretty neat,” Washburn said.
Then, in what can best be described as a throwaway line, Washburn threw out an interesting nugget.
“I’ve coached Fletcher Cox my whole life,” Washburn said. “I’ve coached him a million times. I’ve been in his house hundreds of times. I’ve coached Southern black kids my whole life. That’s what my life’s work’s been. We hit it off.”
Washburn is a Southerner through and through — he grew up in North Carolina and spent the bulk of his professional coaching career in Tennessee — but the comment raised a few eyebrows on sports-talk radio. Former Eagle Ike Reese, now a personality on 94.1 WIP, brushed it off as nothing when his white co-host Michael Barkann mentioned it. And, not for nothing, the Eagles left that quote off their official quote sheet.
But everyone, especially Washburn, is in agreement that Cox is going to be a special player. For once, no one is criticizing the Eagles in Philadelphia.