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COX STILL THE NFL’S MOUTH THAT ROARS

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Given the chance to go easy on his chastened teammates, Bryan Cox passed.

As was the case 24 hours earlier, Cox on Monday tore into his fellow Chicago Bears for failing to do what it takes to win."It's evident. It doesn't take a d--- genius to figure that out," Cox said. "But can we salvage it? Can we find a way to be able to depend on those guys that I'm speaking of? All you have to do is look at the tape; their play speaks for itself."

After Sunday's 37-6 loss to the Green Bay Packers, Cox accused his teammates of lacking heart.

Though he backed off the heart issue Monday - perhaps at the request of coach Dave Wannstedt, who spoke with him earlier in the day - he didn't soften his stance in explaining why the Bears are 2-4.

"I don't want to be a distraction. I don't want the team to get the idea that I'm not a part or I'm pointing fingers. But we need improvement. We need some guys to step up and be accountable," Cox said. "Enough of that little kid stuff. It's time to be a man."

Cox's latest comments came just a few minutes after Wannstedt, in full spin-doctor mode, maintained that Cox hadn't really been questioning his teammates' desire.

"Everybody is frustrated, and Bryan, obviously, is very emotional and very vocal," Wannstedt said. "There was no finger-pointing or anything. It was more of an emotional response to a difficult loss.

"I thought that everything he said was to some degree truth. Some guys need to pick it up."

Cox was asked if, indeed, he didn't mean to doubt anyone else's heart.

"When you talk about the team lacking heart, you're talking as a group," the linebacker said. "You're not talking about any one person not having heart."

Cox's comments "don't bother me at all," tight end Keith Jennings said. "That's Bryan. Everybody respects Bryan. He's frustrated, he wants to win. Who doesn't? You can't blame him."

But Jennings, who has been hampered by a groin injury all season, didn't like Cox's charge that some Bears weren't willing to play through pain.

"Nobody can tell me how I feel," Jennings said.

Ripping teammates is nothing new for Cox, who often did so during five seasons with the Miami Dolphins before signing with Chicago as a free agent.

Cox also is infamous for on-field tantrums, and he had one of those Sunday, too - raising his middle finger, swearing at a game official and throwing his helmet in frustration. He even stood on the field, helmetless, as Green Bay attempted an extra-point kick.

"That makes no sense," Wannstedt said. "It doesn't do any good."

Cox will be fined at least $10,000 and could be suspended, newspapers reported today. When told that, Cox unleashed an obscenity-laced tirade against league officials and said he would sue if he is disciplined.

He sued the NFL after being fined $10,000 for waving both middle fingers at the crowd during a 1994 game in Buffalo. Cox said he was responding to racial slurs directed at him and charged the league with forcing him to work in a racially hazardous environment.

The NFL settled out of court, agreeing to change its enforcement policies toward players on visiting teams and to pay Cox's legal costs.

Wannstedt has other worries besides his moody linebacker. Chicago continues to be devastated by injuries, with cornerback joining quarterback, running back, tight end and defensive tackle on the list of major concerns.