MASON Cox admits he had thought long and hard about the opportunities available to him at Collingwood before signing a three-year deal in September with the club.
American Cox played 10 games last season in the VFL, with Brodie Grundy preferred as the Magpies' senior ruckman.
As rival clubs circled, the 26-year-old sought conversations with coach Nathan Buckley, president Eddie McGuire and captain Scott Pendlebury that reassured him he was capable of forming an effective tandem with Grundy.
"Opportunity always plays into it – obviously you want to play AFL every single week," Cox told reporters on Wednesday when first-to-fourth-year players started pre-season training.
"I've had long chats with Bucks, the president and Pendles, plenty of people at the club. There were a lot of free lunches, which wasn't bad.
"I had quite a few chats and I feel confident with what they're doing with me and where the future is going to lead.
"I'm happy with where I'm at and the decision I made."
Hawthorn, Richmond and the Brisbane Lions were among the clubs reported to be interested in luring the 211cm former basketballer.
Cox impressed in the lead ruck role when he filled in as Grundy served a two-match suspension for a round 20 tackle that knocked out North Melbourne's Ben Brown.
He kept his spot when Grundy returned in round 23 and the pair combined well in an upset win over Melbourne.
"Myself and Brodie obviously play similar positions, so it will be interesting to see how the pre-season goes with that," Cox said.
"But hopefully, we'll be able to play in the same team and I'll be able to play that forward-ruck role.
"I'm more than happy to play either role – whatever is going to get me a game and is best for the team."
Cox has revealed he plans to remain in Australia long term regardless of how his AFL career unfolds and is in the process of becoming an Australian citizen.
Ruckman Mason Cox at training on Wednesday. Picture: Collingwood Media
Meanwhile, Jamie Elliott will meet Buckley and the club's leadership group when he returns on November 20 to discuss his recent arrest.
It is expected he will be sanctioned further by the club. He was fined $634 for being drunk in a public place and urinating in a bin on Sunday morning.