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J’den Cox won’t play football for Missouri next year. Rest easy, opposing running backs

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Here are today’s Mizzou Links.

Well, the Butkus Award is back up for grabs, you guys — J’den Cox isn’t playing football in 2017.

Three-time NCAA wrestling champion and Olympic bronze medalist J’den Cox won’t play football for Missouri next season, a source told The Star.

Instead, Cox accepted a position on Thursday as a volunteer assistant with the Tigers wrestling program, and he will continue to compete in international wrestling competitions.

Here’s the official Mizzou release on the assistant coaching gig:

Mizzou Wrestling head coach Brian Smith has named three-time NCAA National Champion J'den Cox (Columbia, Mo.) as the program's volunteer assistant coach, as announced on Thursday. In addition to joining the wrestling staff, Cox will continue to wrestle in international competitions under the Missouri Wrestling Foundation, beginning with the U.S. Freestyle World Team Trials June 9-10, in Lincoln, Neb.

"J'den treats the sport of wrestling with great respect and is an amazing student of the sport," Smith said. "He will be a fantastic coach because of the positivity he brings to the mat and his dedication to helping our program reach its full potential. On the mat, J'den knows the importance of being technical and having the right mindset going into matches, as well as the role nutrition plays toward the success of a wrestler. With recruiting, he's going to be the person I point to when conversing with recruits and say, 'you can accomplish everything J'den did and more while at Mizzou.'"

The move will allow Cox to continue preparing for future competitions.

The move will allow Cox to continue wrestling under the Missouri Wrestling Foundation. His next competition will be on June 10, when the 2016 Olympic bronze medalist takes part in the U.S. Freestyle World Team Trials after earning a bye to the 86 kilogram finals.

Cox had hinted at wanting to play a year of football when he returned from the Olympics last year, and it was a fun thing to think about, a “Charles Harris played basketball!” repetitive storyline for TV broadcasts next fall. Alas. Good luck to J’den all the same.

NCAA Wrestling: Division I Wrestling Championship Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

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