Dallas Cowboys LB Sean Lee Retires From the NFL – NBC 5 Dallas-Fort Worth
Sean Lee retired Monday after the linebacker spent all of his 11 most injury-ridden seasons with the Dallas Cowboys.
The 34-year-old said in a letter published by the club that it was “my time to go away”. Lee is eighth in team history with 995 tackles.
Eliminated from Penn State in the second round in 2010, Lee led all NFL linebackers with 12 interceptions in his first six seasons, despite missing out on all of 2014 after tearing a knee ligament in the first off-season practice would have.
Lee is fourth among the linebackers in Dallas with 14 interceptions and holds the club record for tackles in a game of 22 against the New York Giants in 2016, his only all-pro season.
Injuries ultimately determine Lee’s career. He missed the last 10 games of 2012 with a toe injury and five of the last six games of the next year with hamstring and neck problems prior to the knee injury at the end of the season in the 2014 off-season.
The only years Lee didn’t miss at least one game with injuries were in 2016, when the two-time pro bowler helped the Cowboys advance to the divisional round of the playoffs, and in 2019. Injuries to his Achilles tendon were common for Lee later in his career.
NBC 5 Sporting Director Newy Scruggs shares his thoughts on Sean Lee’s eleven-seasons resignation with the Dallas Cowboys.
In his senior season, Lee had a minor role behind the linebacking group’s young executives, Leighton Vander Esch and Jaylon Smith. The Cowboys took a 6-10 lead in coach Mike McCarthy’s first season and missed the playoffs for the third time in four years.
Medical concerns violated Lee’s draft after he tore a ligament in his right knee in Penn State. After being injured with the Cowboys in 2014, Lee said doctors told him after the injury in college that his left knee was facing a similar problem.
Lee ended up with more than 100 tackles six times, with 174 tackles in 2016. He’s been healthy for the NFC East champions that season, but played the final game of the regular season with the Dallas playoff scenario all but fixed.
He announced his resignation in a letter on Monday:
I was allowed to wear the cowboys star for 11 years. We want to play forever. But today is my time to go away.
For the Jones family, you have treated me as one of your own since I arrived. You allowed me to shine and grow as a player and as a person. Thank you for your support and kindness.
For the coaches, your endless hours of work made me a better player and took me to places I didn’t know I could go. I will carry your lessons through the rest of my life.
To my teammates, I love you like brothers. The bond of our common sacrifice will last forever. I will miss the Brotherhood, but I will keep the memories from the locker room after all the great victories and hard losses.
For the sports training staff, Lord knows you made your living with me. But I couldn’t have survived my injuries without you. Britt Brown, thank you for getting me as far as you have done.
You lifted me up to the fans when I needed it most. I didn’t mean to let you down. If there is a regret, I’ve never helped bring home a championship because you deserve it so much.
You have always been my foundation for my family. I love and appreciate you all. I couldn’t have done anything without your support. Mom and Dad, you showed me the right way and gave me every opportunity to be successful. For my brother and sister, I have asked both of you for inspiration. Thank you to my in-laws for all of your love and support. For my wife Megan, I love you very much. They were there for every injury, every bad game. I would never have lasted without your support.
The soccer game changed my life.
Whenever I’m near a field the smell brings me back to when I started playing, putting on a helmet and trying on those shoulder pads, the perfect device. When I think of the trip now and experience things that I would never have thought possible with the men and women who make this game what it is, I am extremely grateful.
Thank you, Cowboys Nation. It was an honor for me.