When Morgan Fox arrived for his first practice at Fountain-Fort Carson, he had already devised a detailed plan for his football future.
He was going to be the next Tim Tebow. Fox is a big dude who can launch the ball a long way with his left arm.
“Ah, 55-60 yards,” Fox says, laughing.
Coach Mitch Johnson had a different plan. He saw a rugged, disciplined, properly violent defensive lineman who could destroy offenses. This meant Fox’s Tebow dreams were quickly and permanently squashed.
But, hey, the story still arrived at a joyful ending. Fox became a dominating defender, first at F-FC and later at CSU-Pueblo. He made the Los Angeles Rams roster in 2016 and started one game in 2017 before suffering a right knee injury in the 2018 preseason, sending him to injured reserve.
He’s with the Rams this week in Colorado Springs. The team is staying at The Broadmoor, but Morgan has been sleeping at the Fox family home just east of the airport.
Johnson laughs as he thinks back to the extremely large young man who wanted to play quarterback. Sometimes, Johnson would look for Fox at practice and wonder why he wasn’t with the defensive players.
You guessed it. Johnson would find Fox working with the quarterbacks. Johnson commanded his star to return to the defenders.
“He would have been a project at quarterback,” Johnson says.
He was not a project on the defensive line. He was, from the start, dominating.
“A great overall leader of our defense,” Johnson says. “He was always making great overall plays all the time. He always rose to the occasion, always in the thick of things, always in the hunt.”
But he was not on the recruiting radar of many major college programs. Fox drew interest from Northern Colorado, but most teams believed he was a step slow.
That was fine with Fox, who sought instant opportunity. He signed with CSU-Pueblo with the plan to play right away for the Division II powerhouse.
This plan, unlike his Tebow plan, worked out. “I played 54 games in college,” Fox says. “A lot of guys go to bigger schools, big competitive schools, but I got to play high-level football and learn to understand the game four straight years.”
Fox has spent the week rehabbing his knee under the Rams’ direction and visiting with friends and family.
He ate breakfast Friday morning with his father at El Super Taco. “A breakfast burrito,” he says. “I don’t get to eat breakfast burritos in California.” He took his brother, Jack, to dinner at Panino’s on Powers.
The Rams traveled to the Springs to prepare for the altitude of Mexico City, where they were scheduled to play the Chiefs. The NFL moved the game, citing poor field conditions, to the LA’s sprawling Coliseum. The Chiefs-Rams battle could be the highlight of this regular season.Fox will watch from the sideline, standing on his surgically repaired knee. The Rams, he says, could be special.
“We can go as far as we want to go,” says a defender who once wanted to be another Tebow.