Jason Fox: ‘I don’t know when I’ll get drafted’

The last time we saw Jason Fox, he was on the ground at Greentree Practice Field clutching the back of his left leg at UM’s Pro Day.

Fox pulled his hamstring while running a 40-yard sprint in front of NFL scouts and was unable to continue. It was the latest epsiode of misfortune to strike the 6-foot-7, 314-pound offensive tackle from Fort Worth, resulting in his draft stock taking a hit.

After starting 47 games for the Hurricanes – third most in school history – Fox’s career ended in November after he decided to have surgery to repair knee damage that had made it excruciatingly difficult to play. Fox missed the regular-season finale against South Florida and the Champs Sports Bowl loss to Wisconsin and was unable to compete in the college all-star games.

Because he was still rehabbing the knee in late-February, Fox was unable to do most of the drills at the NFL Combine. Pro Day was supposed to be crucial for Fox, but it ended prematurely. He ran 40 yards in 5.45 seconds on his first try and went down with the hamstring midway through his second attempt.

“Honestly, I’ve heard good things and I’ve heard bad things,” Fox said from Indianapolis last weekend where his knee was being re-examined by NFL medical staff. “I’m hoping for the best. I was hearing second to third round in January and then with the process of skipping the bowl game, skipping the Senior Bowl and not participating in the combine drills and then pulling a hamstring in the 40, those are things that don’t help your draft status.

“I’m hearing mid-to-late rounds. Hopefully, [somebody] will take a chance on me. I think I have all the potential in the world and the makings of a first-round pick. Just with everything that’s happened, I don’t know when I’ll get picked.”

Fox may have maintained his draft value if he had chosen to shut himself down earlier. He started each of the 11 games he played in 2009 before he was advised by Dr. John Uribe, UM’s former team physician, to have surgery.

Despite being named an All-ACC first-team selection, Fox said he was never at his best last season.

“I was in a lot of pain, but it’s not in me to give in and not play and put myself before the team,” Fox said. “Maybe, that’s going to end up hurting me because I don’t think I played as well as I potentially could have. But you know what, when it’s said and done, I don’t have any regrets. I just wanted to go out there and help the team and that’s how I thought of it.”

Fox said he’s resumed running since pulling his hamstring on March 26. The injury, Fox said, wasn’t a matter of trying to come back too soon from his knee surgery.

“It was just one of those things that happens,” Fox said. “I had been running for several weeks up till Pro Day. The knee felt good. I never had a hamstring [problem] ever. It was just…a funny thing, I guess you could say. It’s just another thing that I’m going to have to overcome.”
ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper said last week that Fox would likely be a fourth- or fifth-round pick.

Fox continues working on elevating his draft value. The medical exams in Indianapolis showed that his knee “was good and I’ve improved a lot” since it was first examined at the NFL Combine in late February.

Fox will visit the Detroit Lions this week and has already met with the Dolphins and Dallas Cowboys. He’ll eventually return to his parents’ house in Texas and watch the draft with his family. That will be the end of a tough few months.

“I don’t want to say it hasn’t been stressful,” Fox said. “At times, it has been. But I just tell myself that I’m blessed to have this opportunity. I’m getting a shot to play in the National Football League. At the end of the day, that’s all I can really ask for. I’m going to have to compete once I get there anyway so wherever I get taken, it’s a blessing and I’ll go from there. “

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