Had it been the first day of the month rather than the last, the news of the Buffalo Bills’ latest player move would have been brushed off as a clever April Fools prank. After all, every football fan in America knows by now that the Buffalo Bills and Bryan Cox mix about as well as Hatfields and McCoys or oil and water.
Transaction wire: Bryan Cox Jr. to the Buffalo Bills
The Buffalo Bills signed defensive end Bryan Cox Jr. on Wednesday. The three-year veteran started his career as an undrafted free agent with the Carolina Panthers and caught on with the Cleveland Browns midway through last season.
Cox, who’s appeared in 25 games, will be reunited with new Bills defensive line coach Eric Washington, who coached him with the Panthers, and former Panthers defensive linemen Vernon Butler and Mario Addison.
Cox, who has made two starts, has 30 tackles and half a sack to his credit. He is projected as a backup for the Bills as they push the New England Patriots for supremacy in the AFC East.
Bryan Cox Sr. is a hated man in Buffalo
The newest Buffalo Bills defender has a connection with the city and its fans because of his father. Bryan Cox Sr. played the first five of its 12 NFL seasons with the Miami Dolphins. That connection alone might cause the Bills Mafia, the team’s rabid fan base, to have doubts about Bryan Cox Jr.
But the real issue is the antagonistic behavior between player and fans from 1991-95. Bryan Cox Sr. said hello to the Orchard Park, New York, crowd before a 1991 game with a two-middle-fingered salute that was caught on live television. Cox said that was in response to batteries being thrown at him and racist hate mail.
Leading up to that game, Cox was quoted as saying, “I don’t like the Buffalo Bills as a team, I don’t like them as people, I don’t like the city, and I don’t like their organization.”
Cox was ejected from the 1993 game in Orchard Park following a fight with Bills running back Carwell Gardner. He was seen spitting at Bills fans as he walked off the field.
Don’t expect more trouble from the Cox family
Bryan Cox Jr., who played his college football at the University of Florida, knows his father’s history with Buffalo fans and doesn’t expect problems.
“I feel like somebody had to be the villain, and I felt he kind of embodied that,” he said. “We have some similarities, don’t get me wrong, but I’m not my father.”
Still, the arrangement will go more smoothly if he plays even half as well as his father did during the best years of his career.
Bryan Cox Sr. started 144 games and played in 165 before retiring after the 2002 NFL season. He finished with 939 tackles, 51.5 sacks, and 14 fumble recoveries. He was selected to the Pro Bowl three times in his first five seasons.