San Francisco has eight players in the Pro Bowl, including four on defense. Defensive lineman Justin Smith, linebacker Patrick Willis and cornerback Carlos Rogers were named starters. Safety Dashon Goldson is a reserve. The biggest impact player is ultra talented Aldon Smith.
“None of these guys let it go to their head,” Cox said. “They want to go out every week and prove it, that's all they talk about.”
San Francisco's offense, under first-year starting quarterback Colin Kaepernick, will be a hot storyline. But how the 'Niners defense plays will be a pivotal matchup against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers.
In the first meeting, during the opening week of the season, San Francisco won 30-22 at Lambeau Field. The rematch is at Candlestick Park. But a lot has changed since the two NFC powers played nearly four months ago.
“That was great for our confidence. It was a great start,” Cox said. “Green Bay has a high-powered offense. They have one of the game's greatest quarterbacks. It gave us a lot of confidence as a team.”
Cox's father, Perrish Cox Sr., served as his son's trainer in Waco during the year he was out of football. Perrish Cox Sr. visited his son the weekend of the regular season finale in San Francisco, a win over Arizona that clinched the No. 2 seed.
“Last year was very hard on him, me and our family because we didn't have the money to really help him,” said Cox's father. “He's blessed to be back. It's a joy and a relief for me that he's back out there able to do his thing. It's still hard for me to talk about. I don't have words to describe it.”
Cox Jr. said having former OSU teammate, running back Kendall Hunter, on the team has assisted his transition after going through his off-the-field saga.
“I still can't explain exactly what happened,” Cox said. “For me to go through it and be back where I'm at now, I think I can help a lot of people by giving them words of advice, letting them know the road I traveled, try to help them see what I've been through.”
So what is Cox's advice for young players drawn to the glitzy night-life scene?
“Everything that looks good ain't always good,” Cox said. “Think it over twice before you do it. Watch every step and everybody around you. Focus on yourself, be positive. Put your family first. Just keep pushing forward in a positive way.”