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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Cox's last stand?



Cornerback Torrie Cox has made a last-ditch effort to overturn his four-game suspension for a violation of the NFL's substance-abuse policy.

Cox, whose violation stemmed from his use of alcohol after being placed in a program in which it was prohibited, has filed a discrimination claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission under the Americans with Disabilities Act, according to his agent.

Cox_2 Agent Peter Schaffer is arguing that alcoholism is a disability, and employees with disabilities are protected under the ADA. The suit does not specify that Cox has alcoholism, but says he is perceived to be an alcoholic and accuses the league of taking action against him as a result. Bengals linebacker Odell Thurman, who also is suspended because of alcohol violations, reportedly has filed a similar suit.

Schaffer said Cox's only violation of the policy came when he drank champagne at his wedding earlier this year.

Last month, Cox appealed the decision to the NFL office, but the appeal is still pending, Schaffer said.

So, does this have any shot of success? Schaffer believes it does. But here's another problem: it’s possible the matter won’t be dealt with before the start of Cox’s suspension, which begins in Week 1. The federal government moves a snail's pace, and even Schaffer admits he doesn't know when the matter will be addressed.

Cox's best hope is that the NFL cuts him some slack on the suspension, but in this climate of zero-tolerance, seems that's a long shot, too. All this leaves Cox in a tenuous position with the Bucs, who have other options at cornerback and don't have an overwhelming need to keep Cox on board.

Regardless of the outcome, this much is sure: you have to give his representatives credit for creativity.

(Pictured: Torrie Cox, center. Times photo - Carrie Pratt. Click to enlarge.)

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 2:48pm]


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