ENGLEWOOD - A little more than a year ago, cornerback Curome Cox just wanted an NFL team to take a chance on him. Two months ago, Cox was being shuttled on and off the Denver Broncos practice squad. But for the rest of the season, starting Saturday at Buffalo, Cox will go from obscurity to an important role on the Broncos defense. Cornerback Darrent Williams likely will miss the rest of the regular season and perhaps most of the playoffs with a groin injury. Domonique Foxworth will take Williams’ spot in the starting lineup. Cox likely will take Foxworth’s spot as the third cornerback when five defensive backs are used in the nickel package. “Like coach says, you never know what’s going to happen, so when it does, be ready,” Cox said. “I never would have predicted this or could see it coming but I always prepared myself as if it was going to come.” Last year, Cox was a long way from having an important role on a team that could clinch a playoff spot Saturday with a win. Cox was undrafted out of the University of Maryland and was among the Atlanta Falcons’ final cuts before the 2004 season started. He spent the next three months working out for teams, hearing all the right things but never receiving a contract. “It’s weird because every time you come back they’re praising you, in every way they can they’re praising you,” Cox said. “At the same time it’s like, ‘You couldn’t have liked me that much because I’m not on your roster.’” The Broncos signed Cox to their practice squad Dec. 1, 2004, and he spent the rest of the season with Denver. He was among Denver’s final cuts at the end of this year’s preseason, although he was re-signed to the practice squad. Cox was placed on the active roster for an Oct. 2 game at Jacksonville before he was released and signed back to the practice squad. He was put on the active roster to stay Oct. 8. “I never thought it wouldn’t happen,” Cox said about getting his chance in the NFL. “You’ve got to have faith in yourself otherwise no one will believe in you.” Defensive coordinator Larry Coyer said Cox has passed Karl Paymah, a third-round pick this year, and Roc Alexander, who played on defense last year. Coyer said the reason was Paymah and Alexander seemed a bit overwhelmed, and Cox didn’t. “He’s grown out of that trait,” Coyer said. “He can function.” Cox said he has been preparing for his opportunity. When the Broncos had some injuries at safety in training camp, he learned the safety positions. He knows his assignments and the defensive scheme well because he understands how tenuous his job could be. “When your time comes, you better know everything,” Cox said. “You better not second guess. I was learning safety, corner, any special teams position. I was like ‘Hey, if they need me for this I’m going to be ready.’ It can’t be like ‘Hey, we need you for this’ and I have to learn it that night. Because I don’t have a second chance. All I get is that first chance.” CONTACT THE WRITER: 476-4891 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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