Even when free agency began, Morgan Fox knew where he wanted to be.
"I wanted to be here," Fox said.
"I love the guys, I love the coaches, I love the area, I love the fans. It's really hard not to enjoy just being here, in general," Fox later added. "Being able to have the opportunities that are presented to me with the coaching staff and just being able to play with the caliber of players that we have, it's really, really enticing to stay back here. I really wanted to be back here and help go take this team in the direction that we're all trying to go in."
The Bolts defensive lineman spoke to the media on Monday for the first time since re-signing with the team last month and expressed his level of excitement in being back with the team.
"It's really exciting," Fox said. "I'm excited to be back with staff, with the guys, first and foremost. We have a great room across the board; offense, defense.
"I just love being around the guys. Being around them, seeing all the work we put in, we're trying to go a little farther than we did. Being back with a staff that believes in you and believes in the team is awesome."
Fox returns the Chargers following his career year in 2022 that saw him post a career-high 6.5 sacks and be a force along the defensive line. In a year where injuries ravaged the team and that position group specifically, Fox became a big part of the room that helped the late season playoff push.
His play on the field spoke for itself last season, but Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley believes his impact lies far beyond the statistics.
"Foxy, No. 1, he represents our culture," Staley said. "He represents everything that we want in a football player, but then in terms of what he can do, he has versatility in the front to play a lot of different places. Then, he brings something that's hard to find in the NFL, which is interior pass rush. He has real sack production. When you have an interior pass rusher that can rush like he can, it gives you an advantage.
"He knows how to rush as part of a team, which is important when you have to quality outside rushers like we have," Staley added. "He understands how to fit within a rush plan. He's the guy that makes plays for us and represents who we want to be, from a culture standpoint."
Check out some photos of the Chargers first workout of the 2023 off-season program at Hoag Performance Center.
As Staley mentioned, Fox's versatility is what made him a big part of the Chargers defensive line last season. With his ability to line up in different spots up front, Fox gave the Bolts value as injuries came and went throughout the season.
According to Pro Football Focus, about half of Fox's defensive snaps (283 in all) came at defensive tackle last season. He also lined up at defensive end for 298 snaps, which equated to almost the rest of his snaps.
Fox credits his bounce back season to tightness of the defensive line room and the coaching staff, as they both put him in a position to succeed.
"Just having a great room, being around a great staff that knows how to put you in the right position. And, at the end of the day, gives you the opportunities that you need to make plays," Fox said. "We have a ton of guys that make plays. You just have to see where you fit into that scheme and where you can help out.
"Coach Staley and the other coaches put me in good positions and give me a ton of opportunities to make plays," Fox added. "That's something that I really appreciate and attribute to being able to have a bounce-back year. Then, just the guys that I play with, the caliber of players that we have from front to back, it's kind of easy to go in there and do your job and make plays."
Check out some photos of the Chargers arriving for the off-season program at Hoag Performance Center.
Under Staley's defensive scheme, Fox has had two of his best seasons as a pro, last season and the 2020 season when both he and Staley were with the Rams.
Fox has found success in this scheme, as he has been given opportunities to succeed — and he's done just that so far.
"Like I said earlier, it's opportunities," Fox said. "Coach Staley believes in me and he gives me opportunities to go make plays. That's something that he's always done, every year that I've been with him, is just a plethora of opportunities. He puts me in positions to win and believes in my abilities to win.
"I can't do anything but attribute to guys around me, as well," Fox added. "I have nothing but great players to play off of, to play with, from top to bottom on the roster. It definitely makes it a lot easier to make plays when you're around guys like that and are given the opportunities that the coaches gave you."
With Fox back in the fold for 2023, the defensive line has kept one of its crucial pieces from a season ago, as both he and the group hope to wreak havoc in the trenches this coming season.
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