Former Utah defensive end Christian Cox was all smiles at Utah's football practice as he caught up with former teammates, but being on the Utah campus isn't exactly where he thought he'd be in August. Cox got some unwanted free time when he suffered a neck injury in the New England Patriots' first preseason game against Jacksonville when he was blindsided on a kickoff return. "They blew the whistle and I got smashed," he said. The Patriots placed him on injured reserve for the year while he recovers. Cox didn't look like an injured guy as he walked around practice, talking and smiling with former teammates this week, but said he is scheduled for surgery to repair the damage to his neck. "I have to have surgery so I can keep playing, which is a good thing," he said. "The Patriots are a class organization and they are taking care of me." Cox signed with the Patriots as a free agent after earning all-MWC honors last year when he had 53 tackles and four sacks. Disappointed to see his season end before it began, Cox remains positive about his future. "I'm just grateful the Patriots are who they are," he said. "They are a classy organization."