And because of his background, the idea that Fox himself might be thinking about an endgame outside of Denver shouldn’t be considered so farfetched.
When it became obvious that Panthers owner Jerry Richardson wasn’t going to give him a contract extension during or after the 2009 season, those close to Fox were willing to listen to others. And at least one other team talked to those people, to the point it was believed Fox could have had the job if Richardson had fired him.
But in the days preceding a lockout he helped orchestrate, Richardson wasn’t about to pay two coaching staffs, so Fox was stuck with a boss and a roster he didn’t want.
When Jake Delhomme’s decline from injury and confidence issues became so precipitous that the decision was made to cut him after the 2009 season, Fox began a year-long campaign to make it clear how little he thought of his depth chart.
Saddled with Matt Moore and rookie Jimmy Clausen going into the season, Fox wasn’t happy with having to work out his contract without what he perceived as a legitimate starting quarterback option.
(Granted, the next team he worked for had Tim Tebow, but it’s easy enough to make the case that Tebow was an upgrade over what he had in Carolina in 2010.)
Fox was so unhappy with the hand he was dealt, that when Clausen was injured in midseason, he made a statement that bordered on mutiny. They had signed journeyman Brian St. Pierre off the street to serve as an emergency backup, but Fox started him that week against the Ravens rather than play rookie Tony Pike, whom he didn’t think could play at all. St. Pierre, days removed from changing diapers, threw an 88-yard touchdown pass that day (which traveled about 35 yards in the air) and his arm was so sore the next morning he never played another down.
The decision to start St. Pierre was made without the input of anyone else in the organization, most of whom were shocked to hear that Fox pulled the trigger. In fact, it caused then-General Manager Marty Hurney to cut short a scouting trip to Alabama (hey, that’s where Cam Newton was) to come back to attempt damage control.
So if there’s some doubt as to whether Peyton Manning wants to come back, or will be able to come back, it’s worth thinking about Fox’s role in his own future. If the Broncos wanted to use the lure of trusted offensive coordinator Adam Gase to entice Manning to play another year, they might be willing to think about offering Fox to another team in exchange for some compensation.
And faced with the idea of going into another season without a known commodity at quarterback, Fox likely doesn’t mind the teams with vacancies knowing he might become available.