Jason Fox

Jason Fox cleared to play Sunday

Dolphins offensive lineman Jason Fox (concussion) is practicing with the Dolphins, according to the Dolphins web site.

Fox has passed his concussion test and should play Sunday in Jacksonville.

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proCane Free Agent Signing Roundup

A lot has happened in the last 48 hours in the NFL as far as Free Agent signings and our proCanes have been at the center of it all with several proCane stars joining new teams. See a recap of all the action below:

Former 49ers RB Frank Gore signed a 3-year $12 million contract with the Indianapolis Colts.

Former Texans WR Andre Johnson signed a 3-year $21 million contract with the Indianapolis Colts.

TE Jimmy Graham was traded from the New Orleans Saints to Seattle Seahawks.

Former Giants S Antrel Rolle signed a 3-year $11.25 million contract with the Chicago Bears.

Former Redskins WR Leonard Hankerson signed a 1-year $1 million contract with the Atlanta Falcons.

OT Eric Winston re-signed with the Cincinnati Bengals.

Former Broncos OL Orlando Franklin signed a 5-year $36 million contract with the San Diego Chargers.

OT Jason Fox re-signed with the Miami Dolphins.

MLB Jon Beason re-signed with the NY Giants.

Notable proCane Free Agents still available: Chris Myers, Brandon Meriweather, Santana Moss, Colin McCarthy, Reggie Wayne, Vince Wilfork, DJ Williams, Darryl Sharpton.

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Jason Fox says he's ready to start if needed

It’s too early to say whether Miami Dolphins starting left tackle Branden Albert will be ready by Week 1 of the regular season. Albert suffered a torn ACL last November and is about four months into his rehab.

But if Albert, a former Pro Bowler, isn’t ready to return in September, backup offensive tackle Jason Fox says he’s ready and willing to fill that position. Fox signed a two-year, $2.5 million contract with Miami on Thursday and will serve as insurance. Fox started the final two games at right tackle for the Dolphins last season.

“Obviously, Branden is a great player, he’s one of the best tackles in the NFL,” Fox said. “If he’s not ready to go, I’ll be ready. Whatever role these coaches want to put me in, like I’ve always said, I’m here for the team.”

Fox joined the Dolphins last year after spending his first four seasons with the Detroit Lions. He waited patiently for his chance -- Fox was inactive in seven of the first nine games -- before earning two starts in Weeks 16 and 17 due to multiple injuries on the line. He has the capability to play left tackle and right tackle, which increased his value to Miami.

Fox said he expects the offensive line to improve in 2015.

“This is a very talented group, from the older guys to the younger guys,” Fox said. “Not all offensive lines have that and we’ve got good offensive line coaches. Honestly, the second year is just going to be an improvement on the first.”

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Miami Dolphins re-sign Jason Fox

Jason Fox wondered privately why he wasn't getting a chance to start at right tackle late  last season.

Rookie Ja'Wuan James had been moved from right tackle to left to replace injured Branden Albert. And Dallas Thomas, the new starting right tackle was struggling so much, reporters asked coach Joe Philbin about a change practically twice or more times each week.

(When reporters realize a change is needed, you know something's pretty obvious).

Then Thomas got injured the final two weeks of the season and the Dolphins had no choice but to play Fox.

And he was an upgrade over Thomas in pass protection.

Well, that apparently opened some eyes because today the Dolphins re-signed Fox to a two-year contract worth a total of $2.5 million.

That's actually a bit of a raise over last year when Fox played on a veteran minimum one-year deal.

So what does this mean?

Well, you can bet the Dolphins won't wait until the final two weeks of the season before trying to stop the turnstile to quarterback Ryan Tannehill if another starting tackle is injured. You can bet Fox will at least have a chance to compete to be the backup if this contract doesn't make him that now.

As for Thomas, it is obvious he's more suited to be a swing guard or tackle. He's probably the seventh offensive lineman on a good team -- someone you hope can develop into a guard while still having the ability to play tackle in dire circumstances rather than turning to him the final two months of the season.

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Will The Dolphine Bring Back Jason Fox?

Drew Rosenhaus addressed backup Dolphins tackle Jason Fox, who is one of his clients.

Fox is a free agent and played well in limited action as an injury replacement at both left and right tackle.

When asked if the Dolphins would need to draft a tackle in case left tackle Branden Albert isn’t full recovered from his ACL/MCL injury, Rosenhaus said “I don’t think so if the Dolphins re-sign free agent Jason Fox who played very well at the end of the year.”

“They’re very well set with (right tackle) Ja’Wuan James at one spot,” Rosenhaus said. “Fox, he proved that he could hold down the fort. If they lose Jason Fox, yes, they need another tackle.”

If the Dolphins don’t bring Fox back, it might signal that they believe Billy Turner — Miami’s third-round pick in 2014 who is projected as a starting guard in 2015 — could fill in at tackle.

Turner was a two-time All-America FCS left tackle at North Dakota State.

Rosenhaus said he’s not sure if the Dolphins will bring Fox back.

“I don’t know much yet,” Rosenhaus said. “I’ve talked to Dennis Hickey. They’ve indicated they’re very fond of Jason Fox but we have not started any negotiations yet.”

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Jason Fox played well as Dolphins' starting right tackle

Jason Fox had two offers on the table this offseason when he decided to pick the Miami Dolphins over the Kansas City Chiefs.

Outside of being in the same city where he starred as a four-year starter at the University of Miami, Fox picked the Dolphins because he felt he'd get a fair opportunity to prove what he could do as an NFL player.

It took Fox roughly five months but that opportunity finally came in Sunday's 37-35 win over the Vikings.

Fox, who the Lions selected in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL draft, started his fourth NFL game against Minnesota, replacing an injured Dallas Thomas, and held his own against an aggressive Vikings defense.

Fox allowed three quarterback hurries in his 86 snaps, and graded out as the Dolphins' top performing offensive lineman. Offensive coordinator Bill Lazor singled his performance out when reviewing the Vikings game, which featured Ryan Tannehill throwing for a season-high 396 yards and four touchdowns.

"You have guys like Jason Fox [who] hasn't played a whole lot for us. He goes out there, and I thought he did a pretty good job. I'm sure he can tell you there were some plays, especially early, where he thought he could have done better, but I thought Minnesota pressured us a lot," Lazor said. "For him to get thrown out there for his first start for us with that kind of defense coming at us I thought was really good."

The question everyone will be asking is whether Fox keeps the starting right tackle spot for this Sunday's season finale against the Jets, continuing as the replacement for Thomas, who was sidelined by a left foot injury he suffered against the Patriots.

Fox, who signed a one-year deal worth $795,000, has no desire to create any waves.

"I played as hard as I could. I just went out and did the best I could," Fox said. "What the coaches have to say about it they'll say about it. I played hard, and so did the rest of our offense."

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Jason Fox Doesn't Expect To Start Over Thomas

Depending on who’s counting, Dallas Thomas was responsible for three or four sacks allowed in Sunday’s 28-13 loss to Baltimore.

But his backup, Jason Fox, said he expects Thomas to remain the starter.

“Yes, as far as I know,” said Fox when asked if he stay on the bench for Sunday’s game against the Patriots.

“Right now Ja’Wuan and Dallas are the starters and I want to root them on and wish them the best and if my name gets called I’m going to go out there and do the absolute best that I can,” Fox said.

Coach Joe Philbin has defended Thomas throughout the week and again today said he saw some good things from Thomas against the Ravens.

“There’s a lot of pictures in the game where he pass protected well to be honest with you,” Philbin said. “There are a lot of good pictures in the game. There are a few that aren’t very good. I think in the run game he’s been productive, but you have to remember there are 50 some odd plays in a game. We all sometimes get focused on the three or four bad ones, but there are a lot of good things.”

Thomas, speaking to reporters for the first time, said he’s never given up three sacks in any game at any level. He said his teammates have offered their support and that he’s moving on and focusing on the Patriots.

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Jason Fox could get chance to shine Sunday against the Broncos

Dolphins coaches had a pointed message for Jason Fox this week: “Stay ready.”

Although that’s the marching order for every backup, it carries extra weight because of the Dolphins’ tenuous situation at offensive tackle.

The Dolphins signed Fox in the spring for just this scenario — when injury or performance scrambles their best-laid plans.

But when Branden Albert went down with a season-ending knee injury, it was Dallas Thomas, not Fox, who slid into the starting lineup. Fox has been on the field for just 16 offensive snaps all year, and wasn’t even active in seven of the Dolphins’ first 10 games.

“Everybody wants to play, but I’m here for the team,” Fox said. “Whatever role they want me to play to help the team, that’s what I’ll do.”

He probably will start out on the bench Sunday. Early indications are Thomas will again be the team’s right tackle in Denver.

But the hook might not be too far off. Thomas must play substantially better than he has when he faces the Broncos’ fearsome pass rush Sunday.

Denver’s Von Miller and Demarcus Ware have combined for 19 sacks, 19 quarterback hits and 53 hurries this season. Those numbers are better than even the Dolphins’ standout defensive ends, Cameron Wake and Olivier Vernon, who have tallied 14, 19 and 47, respectively.

And when Thomas has faced elite defenders this year, he has struggled.

His showing against Tampa Bay defensive tackle Gerald McCoy in the preseason — when Thomas allowed a strip-sack, a quarterback hit, a hurry and committed two penalties — cost him a starting job.

And in his first career start at right tackle last Thursday, Thomas had no answer for Buffalo’s Mario Williams.

In 67 snaps, Thomas surrendered 2 1/2 sacks, a hit and four hurries, receiving the lowest Pro Football Focus grade of any Dolphins lineman all season.
By way of comparison, Fox allowed one sack, one quarterback hit and two hurries — in all of 2013.

“Every week, we decide what linemen go to the game,” coach Joe Philbin said. “Typically, if you study us, we bring seven guys. So far, the guys that we’ve given the playing time are the ones we think give us the best chance to win. It’s really not an indictment of [Fox]. It’s just where we feel we are.”

For now, at least.

With Albert’s injury, Fox is suddenly the old guy at the tackle position — even though he’s just 26.

Rookie Ja’Wuan James started the season’s first eight games at right tackle and was a rock, but has been shaky since moving to the left side. He has allowed nine quarterback hurries in the past two weeks.

Yet it’s hard to envision a scenario — short of injury — in which James is anything but the Dolphins’ starting left tackle for the rest of the season. If at some point the Dolphins do make a move, it would likely be a one-for-one switch: Fox in and Thomas out.

Fox has gotten some snaps with the first team in practice this week, but nothing beyond the normal rotation. That suggests the Dolphins will go with Thomas on Sunday — at least to start.

“The first thing I would tell Dallas is to have some confidence because there are a whole bunch of great clips on video,” offensive coordinator Bill Lazor said. “He was not perfect and we know that Mario came out with some production, but I think Dallas should have some confidence. When I watch the tape, I see him, especially in the run game, blocking more confidently all of the time.”

Lazor added that his offensive line was in for “a heck of a challenge with these pass rushers. I’ve had the chance to coach against them all before and there is no easy answer.”

Having Daryn Colledge back should help.

The veteran left guard, who has missed the past three games with a back injury, is on track to play Sunday.

“I expect to just be in the mix,” Colledge said. “I expect to go out there and try to compete.”

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Jason Fox Inactive on Sunday

Offensive tackle Jason Fox turned out to be the only decision among the Dolphins’ inacties for Sunday’s game against New England. And all six undrafted rookies are active.

The other inactive players – center Mike Pouncey (hip), linebacker Philip Wheeler (right thumb), defensive tackle Bruce Gaston (signed days ago), guard Billy Turner (turf toe), and defensive end Terrence Fede (knee) -- all legitimate reasons for their inclusion on the list.

Fox, the former University of Miami player, turned out to be the eighth offensive linemen, in a matter of speaking, The Dolphins usually have seven offensive linemen active on their 46-man gameday roster.

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Jason Fox Fighting For Roster Spot

Jason Fox: “LaAdrian Waddle, an undrafted free agent, went right past him in Detroit,” Williamson said. “He’s not the pass protector you want on the left side, not the mauler you want on the right side. Not terrible in any area, but not a standout in any. I thought he would be better coming out of college.” The belief here is that the last offensive line job could come down to Fox or Sam Brenner.

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Jason Fox works at left tackle

Miami Dolphins OT Jason Fox worked as the backup left tackle for the first time during organized team activities Monday, June 9. OG Nate Garner had played backup left tackle in the previous two sessions and Fox was previously competing with OT Ja'Wuan James at right tackle.

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Jason Fox leaves Detroit Lions for Dolphins

Jason Fox started 47 games at the University of Miami.

But the offensive tackle also missed 51 of 64 games in four years with the Detroit Lions – including all of 2011 with a foot injury.

Now back in South Florida – signing a one-year, roughly $800,000 contract with the Miami Dolphins on Wednesday – Fox is out to prove his college durability is the real him.

“Obviously, that’s in the past,” Fox said, not long after agreeing to terms. “I had some back luck early in my career, [but] that’s over. I feel 100 percent healthy. I’m ready to compete.”

And he’s open to playing anywhere the Dolphins need him. Fox on Wednesday left open the door to playing guard, where the Dolphins still need at a starter.
He also plans to push for playing time at right tackle, his natural position.

“[Fox] brings passion, commitment to the game and toughness,” said Dolphins general manager Dennis Hickey. “I think he’ll fit right in with our team.”
Hickey proved that with his quick actions. Yet again, he didn’t let a visiting player leave town without a contract. Only one of the free agents to meet with the team in Davie this offseason (D’Qwell Jackson) signed with another team.

At the very least, the Dolphins hope Fox improves their depth on the offensive line after letting three tackles walk in free agency: Bryant McKinnie, Tyson Clabo and Will Yeatman. The signing does not preclude the Dolphins drafting a right tackle early next month, however.

Fox, a native of Fort Worth, Texas, was four-star recruit out of high school and didn’t disappoint, earning all-conference honors with the Hurricanes in 2009.
“I consider this a second home to me,” Fox said.

A fourth-round draft pick, Fox’s pro career has been derailed by injuries, but he did appear in eight games with Detroit last season, starting three.

He allowed just one sack in 205 regular-season snaps, according to Pro Football Focus. However, his run-blocking needs improvement, the website found.

“I think I’m an athletic, smart, tough guy,” Fox said. “I think I can pick up the offense well. I’ll be able to run the zone [blocking scheme]. The things that they [will] ask me to do, I’ve done them in the past and I’ll be able to execute them here.”

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Jason Fox To Visit Chiefs

Offensive lineman Jason Fox is set for a visit with the Chiefs today, according to Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk.

A fourth-round pick of the Lions in 2010, Fox appeared in eight games with three starts in 2013. In three years before 2013, Fox appeared in only five regular-season games, with no starts.

Pro Football Focus gave Fox a +4 pass blocking grade in 205 snaps last season. He played right tackle exclusively for the Lions, including three starts at the position. His week 17 game against the Vikings was the only game Fox played every snap. In short, signing Fox would be done for tackle depth and not to have him start at right guard.

As things stand now, the Chiefs will have Eric Fisher start at left tackle and Donald Stephenson at right tackle. Jeff Linkenbach was signed for depth at tackle and guard, and has an outside chance at being the starting right guard. Fox would presumably fill the swing tackle position Stephenson filled last year.

Signing Fox would also take away some pressure for the Chiefs to draft an offensive lineman. Kansas City has only six picks so the more flexibility they have to select the “best player available” the better.

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Meet the Free Agents: OT Jason Fox

Free agent to be: Jason Fox
Position: Offensive tackle
Age: 25
Years in the league: 4
What he made last season: $1,323,000 (cap number and base salary)

What he did last season: Fox won the starting right tackle job out of training camp, beating out both veteran Corey Hilliard and undrafted rookie free agent LaAdrian Waddle. After injury-plagued seasons, Fox finally looked like he was turning into the player he appeared to be out of Miami (Fla.). Then injuries returned -- first his groin followed by his knee -- and by the end of the season he was firmly behind Waddle on the depth chart and possibly behind Hilliard as well. He ended up playing in eight games in 2013 and 13 in his four years with Detroit.

His potential market value: Not great. Fox has never been able to put together enough games together to show what he could be capable of when healthy, and that will be a concern to a lot of teams. He is still a young player and if healthy could be valuable -- after all, he did beat out two other players for the job on what ended up being one of the NFL’s top offensive lines -- but that would take a degree of optimism from a team.

Will he fit the Lions still: Probably not. With Waddle projecting as the right tackle of the future after being inserted into the lineup midway through the season and performing well next to rookie right guard Larry Warford, Fox wouldn’t be a starter. Hilliard is still on the roster as well, although at a $1.9 million cap number could have cause for concern about his status with the team entering the final year of his contract. Couldn’t see the team offering him much more than the veteran’s minimum, if anything at all, and he would have to be comfortable with essentially not having a chance to play barring injury.

What happens: Fox probably heads somewhere else if he can find someone to take a shot on him. He has the talent and if he does become healthy could be an asset, but that is not a risk the Lions should take as anything more than a fourth offensive tackle at this point. That Hilliard has familiarity with Jim Caldwell from the time they spent together in Indianapolis could also help the veteran stick around. General manager Martin Mayhew was high on Fox a year ago, saying he had starter-level talent, but that was before two more injuries and the signing and then emergence of Waddle.

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Three questions with Lions right tackle Jason Fox, who is not ashamed of 'The U'

Every week, Free Press sports writer Carlos Monarrez asks one very special Lions player three questions that reveal everything about his hopes, his dreams and his character. Right tackle Jason Fox is on the hot seat this week, with guest questions provided by offensive linemen Dylan Gandy and Corey Hilliard.

Question: What did you do to put on 18 pounds the week you got hurt?
Fox: “See, that’s actually false information you received. I gained about 5 pounds. I mean, it wasn’t solid weight. I guess when you don’t practice and you keep eating the same way, you gain 5 pounds. I lost it the next week, once I realized I gained it.”

Question: While you were attending the University of Miami, did you have to take a course teaching you how to bring up the fact you attended “The U” in every conversation?
Fox: “No. I’m just not ashamed of my college. If I would have gone to Texas Tech or Oklahoma State, I understand I wouldn’t want to talk about it, either. I’d kind of be ashamed of it, too. But I’m proud of my alma mater.”

Question: How does it feel to be known as the most sensitive player in the offensive lineman room?
Fox: “I didn’t know we could lie when we asked questions, otherwise I would have made up stuff all year. I asked honest, truthful questions and it reflected the pure journalism standard I set for myself. ... But I will say I’m not the most sensitive person in the room.”

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Jason Fox practices

With Riley Reiff and Corey Hilliard both banged up, the Detroit Lions are lacking depth at the offensive tackle position. That's why, from a timing standpoint, it was good that Jason Fox returned to practice on Wednesday. He has been out for most of the season because of various injuries, but he was back at practice and got No. 1 reps (along with LaAdrian Waddle) at offensive tackle. Hopefully that's a sign that he will be able to play this week.

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With Jason Fox back at practice, Detroit Lions may have battle at right tackle

Now that Jason Fox is healthy, the Detroit Lions have a decision to make at right tackle.

Fox won the starting job with a strong camp, but pulled his groin in the first quarter of the Lions’ season-opening win over the Minnesota Vikings and missed most of September.

Corey Hilliard played well in Fox’s absence, starting the last three games at right tackle, but Fox practiced without limitations the last two days and both players have taken reps with the first-team offense this week.

“I don’t have any comment on depth charts and stuff like that,” Lions coach Jim Schwartz said. “I’ll let you guys read into or comment on that. I’d caution you on just with the stuff that you guys are watching in practice.”

Fox worked with the starting offensive line during skeleton drills today, the first time he’s done so since returning to practice last Wednesday. He said he wasn’t too rusty from his time off and felt “good” at practice overall.

“In every week and even in every game, you try to get into a rhythm,” Fox said. “You try to get a flow. That’s what you’re trying to establish every week, every game. That’s just what I’ve got to get back to.”

The Lions don’t have any hard and fast rules about starters keeping or losing their jobs because of injuries, but the offensive line has been a bright spot so far this season allowing just two sacks in four games, the fewest in the NFL.

Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said he’s not worried about the line losing whatever continuity it’s developed should the Lions start Fox over Hilliard in Sunday’s game against the Green Bay Packers.

“The guys all understand, I think, kind of how it works,” Linehan said. “We make decisions on Saturday evenings as to who’s going to play and all that stuff, but we had a really good dynamic through off-season and preseason, Jason played very well. So whatever we decide to do we’re very comfortable with whoever’s out there.”

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Jason Fox not campaigning to retain his starting right tackle job

ALLEN PARK -- Jason Fox won the Detroit Lions' starting right tackle job with a strong training camp and preseason performance, but with an early-season groin injury sidelining him the past two games, he could return to a backup role behind Corey Hilliard.

Fox declined to say he deserved his job back. He's content to let the coaches decide.

"That's a tough question," he said. "You have to ask the coaches that. I don't know how to answer that, really. I think we have two quality right tackles. Either one of us can get the job done."

Practicing for the first time in nearly three weeks on Wednesday, Fox said his body responded well.

"It was a good first step," Fox said. "I think it responded really well. I felt good out there. I need to finish out with a good week of practice."

During skeleton drills run during the open portion of practice, Hilliard continued to work with the first team.

Coach Jim Schwartz also went out of his way to highlight the play of Hilliard during his Monday press conference.

"I thought probably one thing in this Redskins game that went a little under the radar was the job that Riley Reiff and Corey Hilliard did on their two outside pass-rushers," Schwartz said. "I thought that Riley played an outstanding game and so did Corey. And they had to do it against two big-time players."

When asked for his philosophy on starters retaining jobs while injured, Schwartz said the team handles those situations individually.

"Every case is different," he said. "We treat every one differently."


Jason Fox Doesn't Practice

The Lions hit the practice field for the first time Wednesday since Sunday’s loss in Arizona and did so without a few key starters on offense.

Running back Reggie Bush (knee), receiver Patrick Edwards (ankle) and right tackle Jason Fox (groin) did not participate in the portion of practice open to the media.

Fox was inactive last week after suffering a groin injury in the first quarter Week 1. Corey Hilliard started in his place and will continue to hold down that spot until Fox is ready to return.

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Jason Fox not making excuses for latest injury

ALLEN PARK -- Detroit Lions right tackle Jason Fox might seem snake-bitten, after suffering yet another injury over the weekend. But he's not making excuses.

"I'm not going to answer any of those questions," he said, when asked about his spate of injuries. "It happened, and I'm working to get back."

Fox won a highly competitive job battle with Corey Hilliard to start at right tackle, seemingly the culmination of a three-year fight to get into the lineup. But then he suffered a groin injury just 15 snaps into Sunday's opener.

He underwent tests this week and did not practice Wednesday. His status for Sunday's game at Arizona is unknown.

"I just turned, and it just kind of gave out," he said. "Didn't feel too good. I got to the sideline and tried to give it a go, but it wasn't cooperating. I knew Corey was going to do his job, which he did.

"I was engaged in a block. We were engaged, he made a move and I tried to react real fast and it just gave out."

It's just the latest setback for Fox, who once was graded as a first-round talent out of Miami before dropping to Detroit in the fourth round in 2010 due to a knee injury. He missed most of that season because of the knee, then all of 2011 with a foot injury.

He was active just one game in 2012.

But Fox entered this season healthy and seemingly made a major step forward during camp. He was a strong, consistent producer, which helped him finally win the starting job.

But his first career start lasted just 15 snaps. And now he's right back in the trainer's room.

Fox couldn't give a timetable for his return, but said he's improving every day.

"I'm feeling better than Sunday," he said. "It could have been a lot worse. I'm going to get back as soon as I can."

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Jason Fox Misses Practice

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- The Detroit Lions started practicing for their game Sunday at Arizona on fairly hot Wednesday morning.

The heat, in theory, could help the Lions deal with the all-too-typical weather in the desert.

Two players -- starting right tackle Jason Fox and reserve safety Don Carey -- were not practicing. Both have "soft-tissue" injuries, Lions coach Jim Schwartz said Monday, and were injured in Sunday's 34-24 win over Minnesota.

Corey Hilliard replaced Fox at right tackle in the Minnesota game and he would likely get the nod if Fox's groin doesn't heal in time.

Running back Reggie Bush, who hurt his thumb and groin Sunday, participated in the media portion of practice. So did safety Louis Delmas, who has chronic knee issues.

An update on Fox and Carey -- and in Carey's case, exactly what his injury is -- will be available later today.

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Jason Fox banged up

During his Monday press conference, Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz mentioned that two players are undergoing further tests because of injuries they suffered on Sunday. Offensive tackle Jason Fox and safety Don Carey both are dealing with "soft tissue" injuries, and their status is up in the air going forward.

Fox, who started at right tackle for the Lions, only played 15 snaps before he pulled his groin. Corey Hilliard took over for Fox at right tackle and finished the game. Generally speaking, he did a pretty admirable job of filling in for Fox, who won the starting job with a strong training camp and preseason.

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Jason Fox injures groin in season opener against Minnesota

DETROIT — Lions offensive tackle Jason Fox has left Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings because of a groin injury. His return is questionable.

Detroit is trying to replace both starting tackles from last season after Jeff Backus retired and Gosder Cherilus left via free agency. Fox and 2012 first-round draft pick Riley Reiff are expected to play bigger roles this year.

Fox left in the first quarter against Minnesota. Corey Hilliard is the next man on the depth chart at right tackle.

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Looks Like Jason Fox Has Won The Starting Job

ALLEN PARK -- The Detroit Lions aren't expected to announce a starting offensive line until Sunday, when they open the season against the Minnesota Vikings.

But all signs point to Jason Fox winning the job at right tackle, and Larry Warford at right guard.

"If I do, great. If I don't, I'm just going to keep working," Warford said of starting. "Obviously everyone's goal is to win that starting job and hopefully if I stay on the track I'm on, I'll eventually earn that spot."

Warford is a rookie third-rounder out of Kentucky. He said he's improved his game dramatically since joining Detroit thanks to the tutelage of veterans such as center Dominic Raiola.

He said he's in a position to start due somewhat to improving his balance, which was a problem area when he arrived here.

"When I first got here, I was coming off the ball explosively -- but that's not always the greatest thing for me because I tend to get top-heavy," he said. "I get off-balance, and all you have to do is pull on me and I'd fall to my knees.

"When I was in college, I used to get worried about, 'Ugh, if I don't get off the ball, I'm getting blown up.' Here, it's not all about just getting movement. Sometimes you just have to stalemate to keep your balance."

Coach Jim Schwartz said he doesn't plan to name starters before the opener, but Warford is in a good spot to win the job over veterans Dylan Gandy and Leroy Harris. He started the final two preseason games, and also worked with the ones during Tuesday's practice.

The last time Warford wasn't a starter was as a freshman at Kentucky. It bothered him then, but it gave him perspective for his first pro job battle.

"At Kentucky, I was like, 'Man, these guys gave me a scholarship but I feel like I'm letting them down (by not starting)," he said. "But you can't think of it that way. They have to work with you to get you to the level where you're very polished, so they can feel comfortable putting you on the field. You don't want to put an unfinished product out there.

"So it wasn't as bad when I got here, because I understood that. I understood not starting wouldn't be the worst thing in the world. I still obviously really want to start -- that's my goal -- but like I said, I don't want to be out there if I'm not the best choice."

By all appearances, he is.

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Jason Fox closing in on starting right tackle job

Jason Fox spent the final two months of the 2011 season on injured reserve, and while he was rehabbing from his second knee surgery Lions offensive line coach Jeremiah Washburn kept him busy with weekly homework assignments.

Fox’s task at the time was to watch film of offensive tackles across the league, analyze their strengths and weaknesses and see if he could glean any tips.
In his second NFL season at the time, Fox found the exercise eye-opening.

“It was always a continual development,” Fox said. “(I’d) look for stuff in their game I can apply to mine as far as how they set different people, the different schemes they use, different techniques they use, whether it’s how they reach an end or where they keep their hands in pass protection, whether they short set guys, just everything. Just watching and seeing what’s got them to where they are.”

Two years later, Fox is close to being in the position he once studied — a starting tackle in the NFL.

Coach Jim Schwartz said Monday position battles at right tackle and right guard have “come into focusicon1” a month into the preseason.

Schwartz declined to name favorites for the jobs, but Fox has quietly drawn praise for his play while competing with Corey Hilliard at tackle.

Fox and Hilliard shared first-team reps in practice Monday, as they have most of the preseason, while rookie Larry Warford and veterans Dylan Gandy and Jake Scott continue to get most of the work at guard.

“I think there’s still possibilities there, but it’s come into focus over the courseicon1 of training camp,” Schwartz said. “There could still be something that could change our minds. It’s important to finish strong and finish the way we started. But it’s starting to come in. All our positions are starting to come into focus, but none of them are cemented yet.”

Fox has started the last two weeks at right tackle and hasn’t allowed a sack in 80 snaps this preseason.

He said he feels like he’s “played well overall,” and considering how rocky his first two NFL seasons were — he fell to the fourth round of the 2010 draft because of a college knee injury that limited him most of his rookie year — starting Week 1 against the Vikings would be special.

“The injuries are in the past, which is a great thing, and sometimes it was hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel,” Fox said. “But they’ve stuck with me and I’m very appreciative of that and yeah, it’d be great to come out on the other side of it where I’m healthy and playing.”

While he doesn’t studyicon1 opposing offensive tackles like he did in 2011, Fox remains an avid film watcher. He regularly charts the pass rushers he’ll go against, and he’s found a new way to get an edge.

Several times this preseason, Fox has reached out to former teammate Jeff Backus for tips on the defensive ends he’ll play.

Before his preseason start against the Browns, for instance, Fox inquired about outside linebacker Paul Kruger, how quick he is, his pass-rush moves and the Browns’ new defensive scheme coordinated by Ray Horton, who the Lions played in Arizona last year.

Backus dropped in on Lions practice Monday, and Fox said he’s “a great resource” to have.

“It’s been helpful,” Fox said. “It’s something I’m probably going to carry throughout the rest of the season.”

Perhaps as starter.

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Jason Fox performing well for Lions

Unlike the left outside linebacker job, the starting spot at right tackle has not already basically been decided. It's believed that Jason Fox has a slight edge on Corey Hilliard in the position battle, but the gap between them is not big enough for Jim Schwartz to come out and declare a leader or anything like that.

Through the first two preseason games, Fox and Hilliard have played a pretty equal number of offensive snaps. Fox has been on the field for 55 snaps on offense, while Hilliard has gotten 61. For Fox, he has been involved in pass blocking on at least 40 of his snaps, according to Pro Football Focus, and he is performing at a pretty high level so far. From PFF:

Right Tackle Jason Fox is looking like he should be a starter in Detroit. Over 40 pass blocking snaps Fox has yet to give up a pressure. Fox has been getting most of the reps in practice with the first team. He started against the Jets and seems to have the edge in earning the starting role there. Corey Hilliard not out of the mix, but expect Fox to start and watch both closely.

It'd obviously be nice to see how many pressures Hilliard has given up so far, but that number wasn't included. Even so, it's probably safe to assume that if Hilliard was perfect in pass protection as well, it would have been mentioned.

In any case, this is another piece of evidence that suggests Fox will ultimately become the Detroit Lions' starting right tackle. What happens on Thursday in the Lions' "dress rehearsal" against the New England Patriots could help solidify that if Fox keeps playing like he has so far in the preseason.

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Jason Fox has 'slight edge' to start

The Lions' website gives Jason Fox the "slight edge" to win the starting right tackle job.

A fourth-round pick in 2010, Fox has appeared in just five career games and dealt with injuries in each of his first three seasons. Now that he's finally healthy, he'll compete for playing time with Corey Hilliard in training camp. Despite his limited experience, Fox is considered the favorite to start.

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Jason Fox says offensive linemen have been pushing each other in the weight room

The Detroit Lions offensive line will be noticeably bigger next season.

Center Dominic Raiola has added 20 pounds, left tackle Riley Reiff has packed on 10, and rookie Larry Warford, if he can win the starting job, brings a massive 333-pound frame to the right guard spot.

Jason Fox, who will compete with Corey Hilliard to start at right tackle, has also bulked up.

"I've gained a little weight myself," Fox said. "I think that just shows you that everybody has been working really hard in the weight room. Even with the break before (minicamp) and the break coming up, guys are going to continue to work hard to be in the best shape for the start of the season."

When working out together at the team's practice facility, Fox said there's a natural tendency for the players to push each other, but there's also an expectation among the offensive linemen to continue working hard when they're away from the building.

"We know the biggest goal is for us to succeed as a group and as a team," Fox said. "We know everyone is accountable to keep that up on their own while we go to our separate places the next few weeks."

Detroit's offensive line did an admirable job protecting quarterback Matthew Stafford last season. The unit allowed just 29 sacks despite Stafford attempting an NFL record 727 passes.

They'll look to maintain that success in pass protection, while using the added bulk to create and sustain bigger running lanes for the backs this season. 

The Lions averaged 4.1 yards per carry in 2012 and have consistently registered in the bottom half of the league in that area over the past decade, never topping 4.4 yards per attempt during that stretch.

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Jason Fox, Hilliard to split reps at RT in camp

Lions OTs Jason Fox and Corey Hilliard will split reps equally at right tackle in training camp.

Both players split reps during OTAs and minicamp, and that will continue over the summer as the Lions look for one of the two to step into Gosder Cherilus' old position. "We'll keep them as equal as we can and let guys work with different groups," offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said. Fox has been viewed as the favorite to win the job, but he has never started an NFL game.

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Jason Fox favorite to start at right tackle?

DetroitLions.com's Tim Twentyman suggests Jason Fox is the leading candidate to start at right tackle.

Fox, a 2010 fourth-rounder, has appeared in all of five career games, and he's expected to compete with Corey Hilliard for the job. After the Lions experienced some of the best O-line continuity over the past few years, they'll be employing three new starters up front at left and right tackle and right guard.

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Jason Fox vs. Corey Hilliard at right tackle

When the Detroit Lions open Organized Team Activities next week, the biggest position battle will be at right tackle.

Gosder Cherilus is gone after five seasons, off to Indianapolis as a free agent, and Jason Fox and Corey Hilliard are in a two-man competition to replace him. Hilliard said the starting job is “a toss-up” for now and something neither player is consumed with.

“It’s going to be a tough competition, and me and Fox are good friendslb_icon1,” he told the Free Press last week. “We don’t ever talk about it. We’ve built such a good friendship over the years, but we both kind of know what it is. One of us is going to start.”

The Lions are still auditioning for help at offensive tackle. They worked out Winston Justice among other linemen last week, and general managericon1 Martin Mayhew said after the draft that he hoped to add a veteran to the mix.

But Hilliard and Fox both have played well in small doses in recent years, and Lions coaches have publicly expressed confidence in that pairing every chance they’ve had this off-season.

New offensive line coach Jeremiah Washburn even had Fox, not veterans Dominic Raiola nor Rob Sims, reach out to rookie third-round pick Larry Warford after the draft. Warford is expected to start at right guard this fall.

“It’s still a long way from the season, and (Corey’s) a great guy,” Fox said. “He’s a great player, and it’s going to be fun competing with him, and who knows, we both could be on the field at the same time. At this point right now, we’re competing, but you’re also focusing on yourself and getting better as a football player.”
Both Fox and Hilliard have had limited playing time in their careers.

A fourth-round pick out of Miami (Fla.) in 2010, Fox was slowed his rookie season by college knee surgery and missed time the following year with foot and knee injuries. He played one half of one gamelb_icon1 on offense in 2010, and has appeared in just one game since, on special teams.

Still, Hilliard said Fox was retired left tackle Jeff Backus’ “right-hand man” last year.

“Very smart,” Hilliard said. “He’s so intellectual. People don’t get that, either. He knows his X’s and O’s just about as good as anybody. ... When Jeff would come off to the sideline, he’d go right to Fox and be like, ‘What’d you see?’ There’s a reason they drafted him all those years back.”

There’s a reason the Lions re-signed Hilliard before the start of free agency, too.

Hilliard didn’t dress for a game last year but he has shown steady improvement since the Lions signed him off the Cleveland Browns’ practice squad in 2009. He started four games at right tackle in 2010, after Cherilus underwent microfracture knee surgery, and one more a year later, when Cherilus was benched for disciplinary reasons.

“We all got big shoes to fill,” Hilliard said. “Left tackle, right guard, a lot of opportunities for a lot of people. A lot of people have to step up, show what they’re really made of.”

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Jason Fox is looking to win a starting spot after struggling to stay healthy

As a fourth-round pick in the 2010 NFL Draft out of Miami University, offensive tackle Jason Fox came to Detroit with the same goals that any young player entering the league would have: to be a strong competitor for a starting job.

But things didn't work out that way.

During training camp his rookie season, a knee injury that resulted in surgery sidelined him for the duration of the year.
In 2011, it was a broken foot.

In short, injuries plagued his first two seasons, and he saw action in just five games over that span.

The situation wasn't something he'd planned for, obviously, but he has benefited to some degree -- at least from a mental standpoint -- in his time off the field.
"I've grown up a lot and I've learned a lot, especially from guys like Jeff (Backus) and Gos (Cherilus) and even guys that don't play tackle, like Dom (Raiola)," Fox said.

"Just being around the NFL, being around vets that have been in this league for a long time, that taught me so much on how to be a pro, how to study, how to prepare for games.

"You don't come in hoping to get injured, but you have to make the most of it; you have to put the time in. I'm really thankful to have had those older guys to learn from and now I have a great opportunity in front of me."

Entering his fourth season, it's not the same meeting room Fox has been accustomed to over the last three years.

Backus, who was the Lions' starting left tackle for 12 seasons, retired. Cherilus, who was the team's starting right tackle, was picked up by Indianapolis in free agency. Right guard Stephen Peterman was released.

The only two starters from last season that remain are center Dominic Raiola and left guard Rob Sims.

For a unit that depends so much on the the consistency and familiarity of knowing who's lined up next to you, those are some big changes to deal with.

"The guys that left, they'll be greatly missed, they were all good guys," said Fox. "But we still have a bunch of good guys in that room. A lot of them are young, and, yes, we are inexperienced, but we still have a lot of talented players and I think we're going to be a good, athletic offensive line."

Transitioning to one of the youngest offensive fronts will certainly bring it's challenges, but it also means more opportunities for the younger players, like Fox, to contribute.

That makes this as good a time as any to be back in the mix for a starting spot.  

"This is the first offseason in a long time that I'm worried about being a better football player instead of worrying about getting healthy ... it's an exciting feeling," Fox said.

"I've dealt with some stuff, but the bottom line is that I have a great opportunity, and we have a great opportunity as an organization this year, so all we can do is look to the future and make the most of it."

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Jason Fox reportedly to sign tender for Detroit Lions

With a chance to win a starting tackle job, Jason Fox wasn't about to miss the Detroit Lions' offseason workouts.

Fox, a restricted free agent, will sign his one-year tender Monday and take part in the voluntary workouts, the Detroit Free Press reported.

The fourth-round pick in 2010 spent last season as the Lions' No. 4 tackle, but with the departure of Gosder Cherilus via free agency and Jeff Backus to retirement, the injury-plagued Fox has a chance to win one of the starting tackle jobs.

The Lions' 2012 first-round pick, Riley Reiff, also will battle for a starting job at either tackle spot or at right guard.

If Fox can stay healthy and prove to be a solid right tackle, it would allow the Lions some versatility along their offensive line. The thought process in Detroit appears to be: draft a left tackle with the No. 5 pick in the upcoming 2013 NFL Draft, have Fox win the right tackle spot and move Reiff inside.

That plan would make the Lions a much better run-blocking team -- an area in which they struggled mightily last season. However, with Fox's injury concerns and relying on a rookie left tackle (who might be off the board at the fifth spot), Detroit could be gambling with Matthew Stafford's protection.

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Lions make $1.3-million tender offer to tackle Jason Fox

The Detroit Lions want Jason Fox to compete for a starting spot on their offensive line this fall, and they took a step today to make sure he's around to do it.

The Lions tendered Fox a $1.323 million restricted free-agent offer, giving them the right to match any contract Fox receives when free agency opened at 4 p.m. Tuesday or get a fourth-round draft pick as compensation.

A fourth-round pick out of Miami (Fla.) in 2010, Fox has appeared in just five NFL gameslb_icon1 in his first three seasons and missed large chunks of 2010-11 with knee injuries.

Still, the Lions think Fox has the ability to start at right tackle. Corey Hilliard, who signed a new two-year deal earlier this month, also will compete for the job, and Riley Reiff, a first-round pick last year, could start at either tackle spot or right guard.

"We think he has starter type talent level," Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said at the NFL combine last month. "He has the size, he's a strongicon1 enough guy, he's a good technician, he's a hard worker. We think he has the ability to start for us."

The Lions are expected to retain all three of their restricted free agents -- defensive end Willie Young and safety Amari Spievey are the others -- and their four exclusive rights free agents (running back Joique Bell, fullback Shaun Chapas, receiver Kris Durham and safety Ricardo Silva).

Chapas, Durham and Silva also received their tender offers today.

The Lions are about $4 million under the salary cap heading into free agency and have to restructure more contracts to create more spending room.

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Jason Fox as part of Lions' O-line solution?

INDIANAPOLIS -- Watching offensive linemen work out Saturday brought to mind the Detroit Lions' efforts in that regard.

The Lions have spent a few drafts building to a moment when they would turn over their own line, and that time has arrived. All that's left to know is whether it will take place in one season or be a two-year transition.

Already, the Lions have released right guard Stephen Peterman. Right tackle Gosder Cherilus is a pending free agent and left tackle Jeff Backus could retire. Center Dominic Raiola appears to have bought himself another season by restructuring a contract that will expire at this time next year.

So who will take over? We know that 2012 first-round draft pick Riley Reiff will start somewhere, be it at guard or tackle. Here at the NFL scouting combine, I was a little surprised to hear general manager Martin Mayhew and coach Jim Schwartz repeatedly mention Jason Fox -- a little-used fourth-round draft pick in 2010 -- as a leading candidate to start as well.

Fox was limited by injuries in college as well as in his first two seasons with the Lions. He has played in five NFL games, only one over the past two seasons, and that was a six-snap outing on special teams in Week 12 last season. But he is 6-foot-6, 314 pounds and won't turn 25 until May.

"Jason Fox obviously had the injuries in his first couple seasons," Mayhew said. "He was able to stay healthy all last year, but we also stayed healthy at the tackle position. He didn’t play very much for us. We think he has starter-type talent level. He has the size. He's a strong enough guy. He's a good technician. He's a hard worker. We think he has the ability to start for us."

It would be rare, but not unheard of, for an injury-plagued player to emerge from three years of inactivity to become a starter. But if the Lions need or want to replace most of their starters in one offseason, that's the kind of elevation they'll need to make.

There are some other little-used players remaining from the Lions' 2012 roster who could compete for starting jobs as well, including: guard-center Billy Nagy to guard Rodney Austin to tackle Corey Hilliard, a pending free agent himself.

In either case, by 2014, four of the five positions will assuredly have new starters. Left guard Rob Sims is the only player who figures to still be in his current role. The Lions are about to get young in a hurry on their offensive line.

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Lions Expected to tender offer to Jason Fox

The Detroit Lions offensive line has experienced unbelievable continuity over the past three seasons, running out the same starting five for 42 of the possible 48 regular season games.

That's expected to change in 2013 with Gosder Cherilus hitting free agency, Jeff Backus potentially retiring, and the salaries of Stephen Peterman and Dominic Raiola making both potential cap casualties.

The Lions have been adding depth to the unit over the past few years and coach Jim Schwartz is confident the younger players in the group are ready to step in if needed.

"We're prepared for a lot of different ways," Schwartz said. "It didn't show this year because Riley (Reiff) had to play one game at left tackle, Jason Fox was an inactive for all but one game, Corey Hilliard was an inactive just about every game, but we have developed some pretty good players there. We have some pretty good players in the pipeline. If we think the best course of action is to go there, then we're prepared for that."

The Lions selected Reiff in the first round of the draft last season and he's expected to start in 2013, although where remains to be determined. General manager Martin Mayhew and the coaching staff have consistently said the long-term projection is to have Reiff replace Backus at left tackle, but the second-year player out of Iowa is capable of playing all four tackle and guard positions.

As for when the team expects to hear from Backus about his 2013 status, Schwartz says the veteran has earned the right to take the time with the decision. The league year doesn't start until March 12. 

Fox, a fourth-round pick out of Miami in 2010, battled various injuries his first two years before making it through last season unscathed. He's a restricted free agent, but is expected to be tendered by the club.

The team also added Bill Nagy off waivers during training camp last year. He was let go by the Dallas Cowboys after suffering a severe ankle injury and spent the entire season on injured reserve. A seventh-round selection out of Wisconsin in 2011, Nagy can play both guard and center.

The Lions could also look to further revamp the offensive line in the upcoming draft.

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Jason Fox ready to take the next step in development with injury woes behind him

The Lions snapped the football 1,160 times on offense this season. Reserve tackle Jason Fox wasn't on the field for any of them.

In fact, Fox was only active for one game this season, when Jeff Backus' iron-man streak ended on Thanksgiving Day vs. Houston because of a hamstring injury. In that game, Fox played the reserve tackle role and was on the field for six plays on special teams.

It's hard to imagine a player who played a grand total of six plays on special teams this season taking a giant leap forward in his development, but strangely, Fox did.

A former fourth-round pick of the Lions in the 2010 NFL Draft, Fox's professional career has been plagued by injuries from the start.

Whether it was a lingering knee issue as a rookie left over from his college days at Miami, or a broken foot that ended last season, he had to prove to both coaches and management that he could stay healthy.

"That's been his No. 1 thing his whole career is being able to have extended periods of being healthy," Lions head coach Jim Schwartz said of Fox.

"I think he's made a lot of strides that way obviously because he's still been on the field for us and seems to have put those things in the past. He's always been a smart player. He's a little bit more physically developed. (I) think he's a good, young player. He's got a bright future ahead of him."

The key part there was having the injuries "in his past."

There's never been a doubt that Fox has talent. When Backus missed time with a thumb injury during training camp, Fox filled and played well. He's a big tackle (6-6, 315) and a good athlete. He moves well and has good feet.

With the injuries now behind him, Fox thinks he's ready to compete for a starting job.

He might get that chance, too, with starting right tackle Gosder Cherilus being an unrestricted free agent and Backus, who's entering the final year of his two-year extension, turning 36 in September.

Fox is a restricted free agent this offseason, but now that he's proven he can stay healthy, it's likely the Detroit Lions extend a tender offer to him.

"Absolutely that's the goal," Fox said of competing for a starting spot next season.

"That's something that every athlete works for and I'm no different. I'm a very competitive guy, no matter what it is.

"I've had some injury struggles in the past to stay healthy but that's behind me know and this offseason I'm looking forward to becoming bigger, faster and stronger and a better football player."

For the first offseason as a Lion, Jason Fox won't be rehabbing or resting an injuring over the next few months. He said Monday that injuries limited him the past two offseasons from taking the next step as a player.

"If you have a knee issue you're worried about getting healthy instead of getting your leg as strong as possible," Fox said.

"But like I said, that stuff is in the past and we're moving forward. This offseason is just (about) becoming the best player that I can be."

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