There was one interested party roaming the Ohio State sidelines on Saturday at Minnesota.
Former OSU captain Dustin Fox, a third-round pick by the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings last spring, was the honorary captain for Saturday’s game at Minnesota.
It has been a tough rookie year for Fox with the Vikings, who have had more than their fair share of problems on and off the field this season. Fox was lost for the year during training camp when he injured the same arm he injured during his senior year at Ohio State.
“It was during training camp,” Fox said. “It was basically the same thing that happened when I was at Ohio State. I was trying to make a tackle. I put an arm out and caught a guy’s leg the wrong way. It was the same exact thing, kind of a freak injury.”
Fox underwent surgery on the arm and has been working hard ever since.
“I could have played probably three weeks ago,” he said. “But the IR (injured reserve) means you have to miss the whole season. With the Vikings, you don’t practice on IR, either. I go to meetings and I work out. Some teams when you’re on IR, they say, ‘Come back next season.’ ”
Fox and his wife Nicole live in the Minneapolis area. He discussed working for a living.
“I love it,” he said. “It’s a new environment. I grew up really fast and bought a house. What can I say? It’s great to be a professional and have a job, basically. I want to play. That’s what makes it tough right now. But that will happen in due time.”
Fox said he is adapting to life as a professional athlete.
“You have a lot of time, where in college after practice you would go hang out with your friends,” he said. “Now, I’m going home and hanging out with my wife and take care of our dogs and the house and do all of the husbandly things.”
As the honorary captain, Fox got a chance to address the team at its breakfast before the UM game.
“I spoke to them this morning,” he said. “I just told them to enjoy the fact they are here with their teammates. They have a family at Ohio State. I just told them to shut down Minnesota. I’m sick and tired of hearing about (Laurence) Maroney. He’s a good player, but we have a good run defense.”
Because he has been hurt, Fox has dialed up every OSU game this season.
“I’ve watched every game,” he said. “(Tyler) Everett was starting at corner and then he got hurt. (Malcolm) Jenkins, I like him. It seems that he’s physical. I told him in the locker room, ‘I like the way you’re going. Keep it up.’ You have to be able to come up and make some plays on the run or you’re one-dimensional.”
Fox’s days as a corner, though, may be over. The Vikings see him as a safety and Fox is training in that direction for 2006.
“I think I can still play corner,” he said. “But I’m at safety now. I am bulked up to 205. I at safety right now, though.”