The list of Denver Broncos players cut prior to the start of the regular season included a starter from last year: cornerback Perrish Cox.
And while members of the team's brass insist the decision was made due to on-the-field issues, questions about his ability cropped up about the same time we learned that Cox is suspected of fathering the child of his rape victim.
Cox's arrest affidavit, on view below, paints a shocking portrait. As Kyle Garratt reported in July, the alleged victim told police she'd wound up at Cox's Lone Tree apartment because a friend was dating the player at the time. Also on hand were defensive back Cassius Vaughn, Cox's then-roommate, and promising receiving Demaryius Thomas, who she recalls kissing and groping her when she blacked out from the effects of four drinks or so.
The next morning, the woman woke up feeling as if she'd had sex, and she was right; she subsequently discovered that she was pregnant. However, she couldn't remember the act itself, prompting a call to the cops. Officers collected DNA evidence from Cox, Thomas and Vaughn, who claimed to have been asleep during the incident. The results? Cox was determined to have fathered the woman's child.
Cox has been charged with two felonies: sexual assault on a helpless victim and sexual assault on a victim incapable of appraising her condition. The sentencing range is huge: two years to life.
Although Cox has pleaded not guilty to the crimes, watching him take part in the preseason against the Arizona Cardinals was a nauseating experience for many fans. And his play fell south of outstanding. As the Denver Post's Mike Klis notes in the article linked above, he was beaten a couple of times during the game. Still, a serious injury to Syd'Quan Thompson during the contest seemed to guarantee Cox's spot on the roster.
Why didn't it? Hard to believe his condition coming into camp, which Klis says precipitated a slide down the depth chart, would have justified the move just a year after the team landed him with a fifth-round draft pick. After all, the Broncos thought they'd gotten a bargain. But the reason he was available then, Klis notes, was due to concerns about his character -- which appear to have been entirely warranted.
Because Cox has not been found guilty of anything at this writing, the Broncos need to maintain the fiction that they jettisoned the cornerback over performance concerns. But seriously, folks -- substituting a known quantity for newly signed backup Jonathan Wilhite, who the New England Patriots included in their first batch of cuts, makes no sense based simply on running and tackling. Maybe he's been distracted by his legal troubles: Who wouldn't be? But the real issue is the potential PR debacle that would have been inflicted on the Broncos had his trial started while he remained on the roster.
Of course, a squad this suspect should be doing everything it can to get better -- and it's ultra-debatable whether swapping Wilhite for Cox will lead to improvement. But in the end, the Broncos did the right thing, even if they aren't publicly copping to their real reason for doing so.
Here's the aforementioned affidavit.
More from our Sports category: "Matt Prater, Broncos kicker: Will he lose job over hit-and-run DUI with strip-club employee?"
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