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Jets Sign Free-Agent Bryan Cox

Free-agent middle linebacker Bryan Cox has landed with the New York Jets, courtesy of a season-ending knee injury to Marvin Jones.

Since being released by the Chicago Bears in June for salary cap purposes, Cox was unable to hook up with any NFL

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  • team before the start of training camp. The few teams that were interested in Cox were turned away by his asking price. But when Jones, the Jets' leading tackler, tore left knee ligaments in practice Friday, Jets coach Bill Parcells wasted little time in finding a replacement and signed Cox on Saturday. Terms were not disclosed.

    Cox will likely move in as the Jets' new starting middle linebacker in a defense changing from a 3-4 to a 4-3. Pepper Johnson, a 13-year veteran, and Dwayne Gordon were slated to be the backups to the injured Jones in the new defensive scheme.

    Injuries and temperamental outbursts marked Cox's two seasons in Chicago. In 1996, he missed seven games due to a broken left thumb. He was second on the team with 99 tackles and had three sacks in nine games before being placed on injured reserve in November. The injury snapped his streak of 81 straight starts.

    The 30-year-old Cox played all 16 games last year and had 133 tackles and five sacks. But Cox was often seen arguing with head coach Dave Wannstedt and the defensive coaches on the sidelines, so it was not surprising he was released after a disappointing 4-12 season.

    Chicago waited until June 2 to release Cox for a salary cap break of more than $2 million in 1998. He was to enter the third year of a four-year contract worth $13.5 million and was scheduled to earn $3.3 million in 1998.

    Cox played the first five years of his NFL career with the Miami Dolphins and was named to the Pro Bowl three times, the last two as a middle linebacker in 1994 and 1995. He led the Dolphins in tackles four straight years from 1992 to 1995. Ihis final season with the Dolphins, Cox led the team with 142 tackles and 7 1/2 sacks.

    The injury-plagued Jones suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament as well as a torn medial collateral ligament in his left knee in a practice drill Friday.

    Jones, the fourth overall pick in the 1993 draft, experienced the first injury-free season of his career last year and recorded a career-high 127 tackles.

    In his rookie year, Jones fractured a hip socket and missed the second half of the season. In 1994, he was bothered by a sprained ankle and he missed six games the following year due to ankle problems. In 1996, Jones missed four games with a sprained right knee.

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