But Fox, speaking at the NFL owners meeting in Phoenix on Tuesday, didn’t make any promises that it will happen.
“He’s definitely in the mix,” Fox said in remarks distributed by the team. “He’s definitely a player that I’ve enjoyed coaching. He’s done good things for our staff, defensively and as a football team as a defensive captain. The kid made a lot of big plays for us this year and last. He’s definitely a guy that is in the mix for us and will be in the mix, should be in the mix, and we’ll see where that takes us.”
Ultimately, it will come down to what Dumervil wants to do and who will be able to pay him the most money. Baltimore and Pittsburgh are also interested in Dumervil. Fox says he thinks the rest of the team understands the issue involved.
“I concern myself with everything,” Fox said. “The locker room is a huge one because you’re dealing with players. I think our guys understand that there are two sides to football. There is football and that’s preparing and watching tape and all the things necessary to put a winning product out there. And then they understand that it is a business. I don’t know that business is my favorite part or anybody else’s favorite part, but it’s that part of football and it usually occurs in the offseason. They understand that and I think guys separate it.”
In other topics:
Fox is excited about the acquisition of slot receiver Wes Welker because of the matchup problems it is going to create. “I think I mentioned this when we signed Wes," Fox said. "This game is about matchups, and depending on what matchups you get defensively. ... One of the reasons we went a lot of what we call 12-personnel was if they go to nickel or put a DB in to cover one of those tight ends, [then] all of a sudden they’ve gotten smaller so there are some advantages there in the run game. Everybody does this. Now, if they sub base, then it’s a matchup you like in the passing game. You do the same thing with the three-wide sets -- we call it 11-personnel. What do they have against you? How are they going to match up defensively? A lot of it is how the defense matches up. Having had to defend Wes for so many years, you learn to appreciate how tough a matchup he is. It’s hard to have one guy cover him.”
Fox hinted that free-agent pickup Stewart Bradley may have an edge to be the starting middle linebacker over third-year player Nate Irving. “Sometimes it’s not really fair," Fox said. "You get a guy that’s been doing it for 10 years and try to measure him up against a guy that’s been doing it for two. No offense, but it’s a little bit of an advantage for the guy that’s been doing it for 10, in all honesty. And I don’t care what position it is, the more you do it the better you get, hopefully. So if everything’s equal, that experience helps. But we like Nate. We’re expecting big things from him, and I think he knows that.”