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Fletcher Cox enjoys a joint-practice catch-up with Jim Schwartz

PHILADELPHIA — Eagles defensive tackle Fletcher Cox stationed himself in the path of the Cleveland Browns streaming out of the NovaCare Complex to begin their joint practice Monday.

Browns defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, who built the defense around Cox during their five years together in Philly, is like family to Cox. So, the veteran defender showed up early for the long-awaited reunion in much the way you wait at the airport arrivals gate to welcome a friend.

Schwartz broke into a jog after spotting Cox, gave him a bear hug and shared some stuff only a couple of cats who have hoisted a Lombardi Trophy can appreciate. Their friendship strong as ever, Cox allowed himself to get a little emotional when asked if Schwartz missed him.

“Absolutely,” Cox said with a massive grin. “You know he does. It’s always good to see an old coach who’s still coaching. And it’s good to see him back out here.”

Cox is in the twilight of his career. He turns 33 in this, his 12th season in the NFL. He does not want to be a coach when it’s time to walk away. Yet before it’s over Cox, wants to leave young prospects, like first-round picks Jalen Carter and Jordan Davis, something to remember him by.

“I look at it as, I’ve got a lot younger room than what I’m used to having,” Cox said. “So, I’ve got to be there for those guys. And you know, I enjoy it. I enjoy helping those guys and really just getting the point across that the coaches are trying to get done.”

Carter had himself a day, as he shoved guard Joel Bitonio (6-4, 320) out of the way like a blocking dummy on the way to unofficially sacking Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson. It was a solid highlight on a day of practice characterized by Cox as a deal where “both teams got better.”

“The biggest thing with Jalen is just saying to him to go out and destroy people,” Cox said. “Being a pro. He’s soaking it up. He’s learning each day the technique, how to take care of himself and the importance of the things that need to be taken care of on the field. Being smart, making smart decisions on the field and knowing the playbook.”

Unofficially, in this practice the Browns got the best of the Eagles, if only slightly, for what little that is worth. Round 2 is tomorrow, while the preseason game between the teams is Thursday at Lincoln Financial Field.

Maybe there was a little bit of Schwartz’s influence at play Monday. Fun fact: Schwartz is the last Eagles defensive coordinator to believe it’s a good idea to stop the run. During the Super Bowl year, the Birds led the league in rushing defense, allowing just 79.2 yards per game.

You wouldn’t put it past Cox to mention that to Schwartz, who helped Cox register the only double-digits sack season of his career. Or vice versa.

“I’ve talked to him a few times since he’s been away,” Cox said. “I was just checking on him to see how he was doing, his health and the important things in life. You know, the things that we all think about.”

Source: Berkshire mont

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