Bryan Cox thinks he may have been fired for 2016 Combine incident

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As former Falcons defensive line coach Bryan Cox commences a period of NFL unemployment, he has a theory as to why he was let go.

“You go from your unit playing really well in the Super Bowl and sacking the quarterback five times and having [nine] quarterback hits . . . and [three] days later you get fired,” Cox told Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer. “I wasn’t given an answer to why I was fired. I was left to go back and kind of play stuff over. And the only thing I can come up with is the Combine incident that kind of led to it.”

The “Combine incident” means Cox shoving a  Cardinals scout during the 2016 Scouting Combine over access to an incoming rookie. Cox acknowledged the incident in a statement issued at the time by the team.

“I intend to apologize to the young man for the incident that happened last night during the interview process,” Cox said. “It shouldn’t have happened.”

And so one February later, days after a strong defensive performance (followed by a defensive collapse), Cox received the news that he’d no longer be coaching the Falcons. Officially, the team didn’t link the decision to the shove.

“I don’t know why I was fired,” Cox said. “Wasn’t given an answer. It doesn’t even much matter anymore. You move on. I ain’t got no hard feelings. I’ve got people in that building I love. I’ve got people in that building I love a little less.”

Chances are that the shove was simply a symptom of a broader pattern of interpersonal difficulties for Cox, who has always had a shortish fuse and an inclination to shove first and ask questions later. Then again, plenty of head coaches and assistant coaches have that kind of personality and demeanor.

Likewise, plenty of head coaches and assistant coaches get fired all the time, without detailed explanations or written memoranda. For many of them, they still get paid because they still have one or more years left on their contracts.

39 responses to “Bryan Cox thinks he may have been fired for 2016 Combine incident

  1. Probably more to do with the defense choking away a 25 point lead in the Super Bowl.

  2. And if Ryan hadn’t taken a third down sack to take them out of field goal range they still would have won.

    But I’m glad to hear that Cox didn’t play the race card.

  3. walker1191 says:
    May 20, 2017 9:45 AM
    Hmmm. Not sure. Could it have been the biggest defensive collapse in SB history?
    ———–

    Was the defensive coordinator fired as well? You do realize Cox only coached the linemen, right?

  4. Guess Cox somehow forgot the 31 unanswered points the unit that was “playing really well” in the Super Bowl gave up, along with it being a bottom 6 scoring D. That kind of selective memory combined with not playing well with others might have had something to do with it.

  5. Grow up and mature. You would likely still be employed right now in spite of your team’s epic collapse.

    Volatile, reactionary personalities prone to physical assault are generally not welcome in the workplace and often face difficulty finding future employment.

    This might have been your last job in the NFL.

  6. In the NFL, reasons for being fired or let go are a privlege, not a right. That said, once you get to a certain level at the coaching ranks and into the club, you are likely to get recycled into another gig at some point just based on the fact you did the job somewhere else before and a team just needs a change of face or voice at a position coach.

  7. It wasn’t really a defensive meltdown. The Falcon points were off Patriot mistakes and the defense spent the first half playing a games worth of shut down defense. Once the Pats cleaned up their act. The Falcons could only hope that time would run out. Terrible offensive clock management doomed the Falcons, not defense.

  8. lukedunphysscienceproject says:
    May 20, 2017 10:31 AM
    walker1191 says:
    May 20, 2017 9:45 AM
    Hmmm. Not sure. Could it have been the biggest defensive collapse in SB history?
    ———–

    Was the defensive coordinator fired as well? You do realize Cox only coached the linemen, right?

    ======

    OK my bad. I didn’t realize they had in fact taken the DC out of his position. Maybe I was confused because they actually offered to allowed him to stay on in another
    position. But I definitely should have done my homework better.

  9. lingsun54 says:
    May 20, 2017 10:24 AM
    And if Ryan hadn’t taken a third down sack to take them out of field goal range they still would have won.

    But I’m glad to hear that Cox didn’t play the race card.

    ————————————————————-
    Nope, he didn’t, yet you’re still bringing it up.

  10. Didn’t the Falcons bring in a new DC? Probably wanted to bring some of his own people in.

  11. danoregon says:
    May 20, 2017 10:50 AM
    Didn’t the Falcons bring in a new DC? Probably wanted to bring some of his own people in.
    —–

    Not only that, but Cox was hired by Mike Smith not Dan Quinn. I don’t think holdovers from previous coaching staffs should ever stop looking over their shoulder.

  12. When people always bring up how Bellichick wields this rigid autocratic attitude with players, Cox and LT are always the examples I have that this is a myth. Cox always said that Bellichick was hardly that way and actually is the opposite, just making sure you know your role down to the nth degree but lets the players be themselves while having warm interpersonal relationships with them while they work for him. So when I see clown show stuff like Sean McDermott thinking that taking pool tables out of the facility from grown men who have to perform for him, I know that he’s probably going to fail because he’s worried about the last things that the greatest coach I’ve ever seen never would bother with.

  13. lingsun54 says:

    ….But I’m glad to hear that Cox didn’t play the race card.
    ————————————————————-

    Too bad you just did though.

  14. xlivsaints says:
    May 20, 2017 10:07 AM
    What was up with that strange pad he wore behind his neck?

    In Bryan’s rookie season (1991) with Miami his first preseason game was against the Bears, he was injured on the games final play and left the field on a stretcher with a serious neck injury, hence the reason for wearing “the pad” during the remainder of his playing career.

  15. When your defense has to work for 40+ minutes, creates two turnovers and returns one for a TD, along w 5 sacks….you need a scape goat.

    Mr Cox come on down!

    How come no one blames the offense for for being in point blank range in the 4th quarter, then craps its pants?

    Also, the first 14-0 ATL lead was a fumble recovery and an INT returned for TD.

    The same 28-3 vs 28-34 should be applied to the ATL offense!

    This high powered offense couldn’t put up more than 14 on their own?
    Can’t blame the superstars?!

  16. Lightning rod for controversy. Was so when he was a player and was no different as a coach. It is what it is.

  17. you switch to some soft zone D in the 2nd half of the superbowl and blow a 20+ point lead, the same D that the pats utterly destroyed vs Pit and you wonder why your fired?

  18. I don’t like him, but to not tell a man why he’s lost his livelihood is unprofessional and cowardly.

  19. Could it have been because he got sacked when he should have gotten rid of the ball? No. That was Matt Ryan. Could it have been because he snapped the ball with 20 seconds on the play clock when he should have been burning every precious second? No. Matt Ryan again. Could it have been because he doesn’t conduct himself like a professional person, and chooses to act rather uncivilized at times? Yes! Probably that.

  20. Tough, not impossible, to attain needed respect as position coach for d-line when one spent their entire career as a linebacker. Perhaps that would be why head coach, who by the way was a Superbowl DC for Seattle, might have felt it was time to move in a different direction. Sometimes a culture building a winning tradition might make this type of move simply due to the “we should be able to do better” attitude that winning cultures have.

  21. “Could it have been the biggest defensive collapse in SB history?”

    Low hanging fruit.

    You can also point to the fact that he coached the Dline that got them to the Super Bowl in the first place and played very well all last season up until the last few minutes.

    Only one team can win the whole thing, and at least Atlanta made it to that last game while 30 other teams were sitting.

  22. jimnaizeeum says:
    May 20, 2017 9:57 AM
    Probably more to do with the defense choking away a 25 point lead in the Super Bowl.
    ==================================
    The defense was out of gas. The Patriots ran 95 offensive plays. Some of the blame there goes on the Falcons aggressive offensive play calling and lack of ball control. It’s hard to blame Cox. He was the same coach who left the field at half time up 21-3.

  23. Couldn’t be that HIS UNIT didn’t even come out of the locker room after half time in the SB and coughed up a freaking 25 point lead could it? Dude’s luck he didn’t get fired before he left the damn stadium that night.

  24. Typical meat head who thinks he can push people around with his size and yelling instead of with words and his brain.

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