Written by Evan Tate-Last season showed signs of optimism for Lions defensive lineman Miles Fox. The 6’1, 297-pound American spent a large majority of the 2022 campaign on the Lions practice squad until injuries led to him making his professional football debut against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in a week seven victory at BC Place.
“I got into the game last year, you can just tell the wheels were turning in there, I was thinking too much, I wasn’t playing as fast as I normally do,” he now admits.
Fox played in two more games during the 2022 season, suiting up in Weeks 19 & 20 against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers and Edmonton Elks, respectively. Fox recorded a total of three defensive tackles in his first three career games.
“I didn’t play up to my capability in those few games, so I just kind of want to build off that. I had a couple of good moments, but I definitely want to build off that and strive for more this year.”
Coming into the 2023 season, the 26-year-old Georgia native is hoping to carve out a more substantial role on the Lions depth chart. Fox has been training in his hometown of Atlanta, Georgia in preparation for his second professional season.
“I’ve really focused on my strength training, getting stronger and my D-line training has been a focal point for me. Because when I got into games last year, I’ve just been thinking too much, I want to eliminate that, learn how to play faster.”
Fox spent an unprecedented seven seasons playing NCAA football, as the NCAA granted athletes an extra year of eligibility due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After playing four seasons at Old Dominion, Fox enrolled at Wake Forest and joined their team as a graduate transfer, eventually captaining them in his final year. Fox notes the adjustment period going from college to the professional game.
“Everyone who plays pro football has always been the guy wherever they go. From playing a lot in college to not playing at all, it’s hard,” Fox explained.
“One of my favourite scriptures is John 13:7, ‘You may not understand now but later you’ll know; you’ll get it.’ That just kind of helped me through all of that, knowing everything happens for a reason, it helped me stay patient, knowing my time is coming. That was kind of my mantra last year; stay ready so I don’t have to get ready.”
Fellow Lions DL Josh ‘Night Train’ Banks attended Wake Forest just before Fox. Although the two never met before coming to the Lions, it helped Fox feel more confident in the transition.
“I never actually met Josh Banks prior to this, but I’ve always heard his name, our coach would always bring him up. It was kind of encouraging that I knew of somebody,” he said.
Upon arriving in B.C. and meeting Banks, he has been an integral part of Fox’s development as a lineman. Fox credits ‘Night Train’ Banks, along with other veteran Lions teammates, in helping guide him through his rookie season.
“I just try to learn from the older guys, Night Train, Menard, and Betts. Night Train played at Wake Forest with me as well, so I was already familiar with him, he would give me pointers all the time, Woody also.”
Now more familiar with the Canadian style of play, and with another tough off-season of training under his belt, Fox is more prepared than he’s ever been to take the next steps in his career.
“I feel like all-around my game is improving, I’m probably the strongest I’ve ever been, and my pass rush has been a really big focal point for me as well, Fox added.
“I’m confident going into next season, last season I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, I wasn’t as confident, but now I’m really confident and I’m ready to roll.”
Fox, like all in the Lions organization, wants to see the team succeed. Fox wants to be a part of that success and a reason for it. He’s also set some personal goals for himself to hit this season as well as overall team success.
“I definitely want to, hopefully, crack that starting lineup, but I definitely want to suit up for every game this year and help my team win a Grey Cup, that’s really the ultimate goal,” the defensive lineman stated.
Adding that he’s super excited to get back to Vancouver and be around the team:
“We have a great group of guys, great group of coaches, and they just help me feel at home. We’re like a family we’re really tight-knit, and they just make going to work every day really fun.”