Niners take chance on Cox after year-long absence from NFL

SAN FRANCISCO -- In two days, the 49ers took risks on two players who weren't even in the NFL last year.

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Randy Moss on Monday. Perrish Cox a day later.

Cox is receiving a fresh start with San Francisco, signing a two-year contract Tuesday after being acquitted on sexual-assault charges in Colorado earlier this month.

"We are pleased to add Perrish to our team," 49ers general manager Trent Baalke said. "As an organization, from ownership on down, we have done our due diligence and are confident that Perrish will be a positive contributor to the 49ers, as well as our community."

The 49ers announced the deal on the first day of NFL free agency. They also re-signed linebacker Tavares Gooden, a valuable special-teams player last season, to a one-year deal.

Cox was accused of sexually assaulting a woman at his apartment in September 2010 after a night of partying. She became pregnant, and prosecutors said DNA tests indicated Cox was the father. Cox denied having sex with the woman, who testified that she believed she was drugged because she remembers little about what happened.

"I want to thank everybody for giving me the chance to actually express myself and go out and have dinner with the owner and the GM so they could figure out what kind of guy I am," Cox said. "I've worked hard through this whole process. Like I was telling them, whatever happened, happened, and I took full responsibility for my actions. But it will never happen again, ever again. I'm a positive guy, and if I can help in any way, I want to be there to help."

Cox, 25, didn't play last year after the Broncos released him at the end of training camp, spending time with his family in Waco, Texas, and working out with his trainer father.

Cox had 57 solo tackles, two forced fumbles and an interception as a rookie in 2010. Playing for current 49ers defensive backs coach Ed Donatell while in Denver, Cox appeared in 15 games with nine starts and ranked third among 2010 rookies with 14 passes defensed.

Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press