|Born:||July 22, 1986|
|Height:||6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)|
|Weight:||245 lb (111 kg)|
|High school:||Upper St. Clair|
(Upper St. Clair, Pennsylvania)
|NFL Draft:||2010 / Round: 2 / Pick: 55|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|
|Player stats at NFL.com · PFR|
Sean Patrick Lee (born July 22, 1986) is a former American football linebacker. He played his entire 11-year professional career with the Dallas Cowboys. He played college football at Penn State, and was selected by the Cowboys in the second round of the 2010 NFL Draft. He made two Pro Bowls and the 2016 All-Pro Team.
He is the son of Craig Lee and Geralyn Lee of Upper St. Clair, Pennsylvania. Lee's older brother Conor was the placekicker for the University of Pittsburgh and his sister Alexandra was a student athlete at Upper St. Clair High School. Sean is also a grandson of Federal Judge Donald J. Lee of the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.
Lee was a multi-sport star at Upper St. Clair High School outside Pittsburgh, he was a three-year starter at point guard in basketball, averaging 21.2 points, 9.1 rebounds and 3.2 assists as a senior, and winning a district title. In football, Lee rushed for 1,240 yards and 21 touchdowns while registering 95 tackles and four interceptions as a safety for an 11-1 squad his senior year.
After graduating from Upper St. Clair High School in Upper St. Clair Township, Pennsylvania, Lee went on to play college football at Penn State. Heading into 2008, Lee was a starting outside linebacker for coach Joe Paterno's Nittany Lions for two consecutive seasons. In his junior year he was 2nd team all Big Ten, finishing second on the team in tackles with 138. He had a season high 17 tackles versus Illinois, and registered more than 10 tackles in all but three games. He also had two interceptions and three forced fumbles on the season.
In April 2008, Lee tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee during a non-contact drill at spring practice. Despite being forced to take a medical redshirt for the 2008 season, Lee's teammates elected him a team captain that season. While rehabbing, he opted to serve as an undergraduate assistant coach, participating in every practice and wearing a headset on the sidelines during games that season.
College awards and honors
- 2010 Capital One Bowl Champion
- 2009 Penn State Nittany Lions football team Captain
- 2007 Alamo Bowl Champion
- 2007 Alamo Bowl Defensive MVP
- 2007 Pro Football Weekly All-American
- He was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week after his effort in the Florida International game on September 1, 2007, and again following Penn State's 31-6 victory over Temple on September 19, 2009.
- He was named Big Ten co-Defensive Player of the Week with Ohio State's James Laurinaitis following his efforts in the Purdue game on November 3, 2007
|Height||Weight||40-yard dash||10-yard split||20-yard split||20-yard shuttle||Three-cone drill||Vertical jump||Broad jump||Bench press|
|6 21⁄8||236 lb
|4.72 s||1.61 s||2.63 s||4.16 s||6.89 s||37.5 in
|10 ft 0 in
|All values from NFL Combine/Penn State's Pro Day|
The Dallas Cowboys selected Lee in the second round (55th overall) of the 2010 NFL Draft. The Cowboys traded their second round (59th overall) and their fourth round picks (125th overall) in the 2010 NFL Draft to the Philadelphia Eagles in order to move up from to 55th overall in the second round to select Lee. It was speculated that his considerable fall from the first round was due to his history of injuries, that included a torn ACL on the right knee and partially torn ACL on the left knee during his last two seasons at Penn State, and throughout his career, injuries had indeed prevented Lee from playing a full season's slate of NFL games. Lee was the fourth linebacker selected in the draft.
2010 season: Rookie year
On June 23, 2010, the Cowboys signed Lee to a four-year, $3.49 million contract that included $1.71 million guaranteed and a signing bonus of $1.20 million. He was bothered by nagging injuries in training camp; consequently, he failed to see a lot of action on the field.
Lee earned NFL Defensive Player of the Week and Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week honors for his Week 14 performance versus Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts, in which he recorded the first two interceptions of his NFL career, including one he returned for a touchdown and one in overtime to set up the game-winning field goal.
Promoted to starting inside linebacker in 2011, Lee thrived immediately in new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan's scheme. In the opening game versus the New York Jets, Lee intercepted Mark Sanchez to record the third interception of his career. His key interception of Rex Grossman and fumble recovery in the final minute of the Cowboys' Monday Night Football game versus the Washington Redskins were crucial in the 18-16 comeback.
By Week 3, Lee had a team-leading 36 tackles, 2 interceptions, 2 fumble recoveries, a tackle for a loss, and three pass breakups, earning him NFC Defensive Player of the Month honors. He was the first Cowboys player in franchise history to win the award.
In the 7th game of the 2011 season against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Field, Lee suffered a dislocated left wrist in the first quarter when he hit his hand against Michael Vick's helmet, but opted against having season ending surgery. After 7 games, Lee led the team in total tackles with 51, 15 more tackles than the next leading tackler, Gerald Sensabaugh with 36 total tackles. He also ranked first on the team with 3 interceptions, the only player on the team through the first seven games with more than one interception. In the eighth game of the season, Lee was inactive due to the wrist injury which he sustained the previous week.
Lee ended up having a breakout season, becoming one of the defensive leaders, leading the team with 131 tackles and tying for the team lead in interceptions (four) and tackles for loss (eight). He also became only the second linebacker ever to have intercepted both Tom Brady and Peyton Manning. He had an excellent game against the New York Giants with 10 tackles, 2 assists and a forced fumble on David Wilson. He also registered 14 tackles against the Seattle Seahawks in the second game of the season, tying him with Lee Roy Jordan for the 41-year-old team record for most tackles in a game. Against the Carolina Panthers, Lee injured his right big toe and was placed on injured reserve.
On August 24, 2013, the Dallas Cowboys signed Lee to a six-year, $42 million contract extension that included $16.13 million guaranteed and a signing bonus of $10 million.
During Week 4 against the San Diego Chargers, Lee had 18 tackles and returned an interception 52 yards for his second NFL touchdown. During the month of October, Lee led the Cowboys with 52 tackles (3 for loss) and 3 interceptions. One of his interceptions against the Detroit Lions in Week 8 included a career-high 74-yard return. His strong performances earned him NFC Defensive Player of the Month.
On May 27, Lee tore his ACL for the third time in his career after being blocked to the ground by rookie offensive lineman Zack Martin during an organized team activity (OTA). There was some controversy about the injury because OTAs are supposed to be non-contact. On July 2, he was placed on the injured reserve list and was replaced by Rolando McClain.
After the emergence of Rolando McClain at middle linebacker the previous year, Lee was moved to weakside linebacker to protect him from direct hits by the offensive line and take advantage of his playmaking abilities. In the second game against the Philadelphia Eagles, he had 16 tackles (2 for loss), two passes defensed, an interception in the end zone, and sealed the 20–10 win with an onside kick recovery, although he also suffered a concussion. His performance earned him NFC Defensive Player of the Week. On December 7 against the Washington Redskins, he posted 13 tackles, two tackles for loss and one sack.
Lee finished with 128 tackles (led the team), 2.5 sacks, 11 tackles for loss (led the team), 6 quarterback pressures, one interception and 5 passes defensed. He appeared in 14 games, missing one contest because of a hamstring injury and the other because of a concussion. Lee was named to the Pro Bowl as an injury replacement for Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston.
Lee helped lead the Cowboys defense to a 13-3 record in 2016. He was second only to Bobby Wagner in tackles and was named First-team All-Pro as a linebacker for the first time in his career. He was named to his second straight Pro Bowl as an injury replacement for Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly.
Lee finished the 2017 season with 100 tackles.
Lee finished the 2018 season with 30 tackles and 0.5 sacks.
On February 13, 2019, Lee announced he plans on returning for his ninth season. In week 15 against the Los Angeles Rams, Lee sacked Jared Goff once and intercepted a pass thrown by Goff during the 44–21 win. In week 16 against the Philadelphia Eagles, Lee recorded a team high 17 tackles during the 17–9 loss.
On March 24, 2020, Lee re-signed with the Cowboys on a one-year deal. He was placed on injured reserve on September 7, 2020. On September 16, it was revealed that Lee had underwent a sports hernia surgery, requiring at least six weeks to recover. He was activated on October 31, and finished the season with 20 tackles in nine games.
|2014||DAL||Did not play due to injury|
- "Sean Lee Pro-Football-Reference Profile". rbref.com.
- Sullivan, Jeff. "Student of the Game". Dallas Cowboys Star Magazine.[permanent dead link]
- "#45 Sean Lee". Penn State. Archived from the original on April 26, 2007. Retrieved July 10, 2007.
- "Nittany Lions Announce Captains for 2008 Season". Pennsylvania State University. Retrieved April 29, 2008.
- "Clark and Lee Elected 2009 Nittany Lion Co-Captains". Penn State Intercollegiate Athletics. May 19, 2009.
- "Lee Earns Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week Accolades". Penn State Intercollegiate Athletics. September 20, 2009.
- "Penn State's Sean Lee Gets Big 10 Honor". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. September 21, 2009.
- "Spotrac.com: Sean Lee contract". spotrac.com. Retrieved December 8, 2017.
- Florio, Mike (December 8, 2010). "Sean Lee is the NFC defensive player of the week". Profootballtalk.com.
- Graziano, Dan (September 28, 2011). "Sean Lee is NFC Defensive Player of Month". ESPN.
- Orsborn, Tom (September 28, 2011). "Cowboys' Lee named NFC Defensive Player of the Month". San Antonio Express-News.
- Ellis, Josh (November 2, 2011). "Uncertain Lee - Lee Doubtful Sunday; No Surgery Planned". DallasCowboys.com. Archived from the original on November 3, 2011.
- NFL Playbook Staff (October 31, 2011). "Playbook: Sean Lee's injury hurts Cowboy D". NFL.com.
- Nick Eatman (October 31, 2011). "Game-Day Notebook - Notebook: Wrist Injury Could Sideline Lee". DallasCowboys.com. Archived from the original on November 2, 2011.
- Rob Phillips (November 6, 2011). "Lee, McBriar Inactive; Romo The Holder". DallasCowboys.com.
- Archer, Todd. "Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee laments late touchdown". NFL Nation. ESPN. Retrieved November 2, 2013.
- Kavner, Rowan. "Sean Lee Named October Defensive Player Of Month". DallasCowboys.com. Dallas Cowboys. Retrieved November 2, 2013.
- "Cowboys, Zack Martin will face scrutiny over Sean Lee injury". Pro Football Talk. May 27, 2014. Retrieved May 27, 2014.
- "Report: MRI confirms torn ACL for Sean Lee". Pro Football Talk. May 27, 2014. Retrieved May 27, 2014.
- Phillips, Rob. "After Posting 14 Tackles, Lee Named NFC Defensive Player Of The Week". DallasCowboys.com. Dallas Cowboys. Retrieved September 23, 2015.
- "Three rookies, Matt Ryan among players named to All-Pro team". NFL.com. January 6, 2017.
- "Cowboys LB Sean Lee replaces Panthers' Luke Kuechly on Pro Bowl roster". January 17, 2017.
- NFL Top 100 Players of 2017 - No. 79 Sean Lee
- "Cowboys render coin toss mix-up moot, throttle Rams 44-21". www.espn.com. December 15, 2019. Retrieved December 15, 2019.
- "Wentz, Eagles deny Dallas the NFC East title with 17-9 win". www.espn.com. Associated Press. December 22, 2019. Retrieved December 22, 2019.
- Helman, David (March 17, 2020). "Sean Lee To Rejoin Cowboys On 1-Year Deal". DallasCowboys.com.
- Eatman, Nick (September 7, 2020). "Collins, Lee, Bryant to IR; Cowboys Re-Sign 3 Vets". DallasCowboys.com.
- Phillips, Rob (October 31, 2020). "Dalton Ruled Out vs. Philly; 2 Veterans Activated". DallasCowboys.com. Retrieved November 14, 2020.
- "Longtime Cowboys LB Sean Lee retiring after 11-year career". NFL.com. Retrieved April 26, 2021.
- "Cowboys LB Lee retires, leaves game 'grateful'". ESPN.com. April 26, 2021. Retrieved April 26, 2021.