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Sean Lee announces retirement after 11 seasons with Cowboys

Undisputed leader of Dallas defense Sean Lee says goodbye to NFL after 11 injury-marked seasons

FRISCO – After 11 seasons with the Dallas Cowboys, linebacker Sean Lee has decided to retire.

A second-round recruit in 2010 from Penn State, Lee was a two-time selected at Pro Bowl (2015, 2016) and the unquestionable leader of the defense for most of his career.

“It has been a complete honor,” he said. Lee a ESPN. “I have been blessed to be able to play for the amazing family Jones, with great coaches and teammates that I love as brothers. I loved every minute of playing and tried to give my heart and soul to win and help my teammates at any cost.

“To say that the injuries were frustrating is an understatement, but the support I received throughout all of them humbled me and the lessons I learned from battling adversity will last me a lifetime. There are always regrets, but I’m proud of what I was able to achieve and I leave this game grateful. “

Injuries marked Lee’s career with the Cowboys, but when he was healthy, he was one of the best linebackers in the NFL. The 34-year-old defender led the Cowboys in tackles in 2011 and 2015-2017, and owns five of the seven highest-tackled games in team history, including a record of 22 in front of New York Giants in 2016. He also had 14 career interceptions, returning two of them for touchdowns, five fumble recovered, two forced fumbles, 59 takedowns for loss of yards and four sacks.

He was credited with 995 career tackles, good for eighth in team history. he averaged 8.4 tackles per game, the most among the top 10 tacklers in club history. Darren Woodson, who leads the franchise at 1,350, averaged 7.6 tackles per game.

Lee time was lost with hamstring, wrist, foot, neck, knee, torso injuries and concussions. He missed the 2014 season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament. He played in just nine games last season after undergoing surgery for a sports hernia in September, but felt better at the end of the year, and was contemplating returning for a twelfth season.

His impact off the field was as great as it was on it.

“As an individual, he is one of the most caring people I have ever met,” said the linebacker. Leighton Vander Esch at the end of the season. “The guy just loves the game, and he will do what’s best for the game. He’s extremely smart, understands him like no one I’ve ever met. Just a phenomenal individual. His character is infectious.

“He’s like a big brother to me, and I know he wants to see everyone around him succeed and that’s what makes him special. If other people are succeeding, if the team is succeeding, then he is just as happy as if. he was himself doing it. I think it’s special to have a guy like that. It doesn’t happen very often. “

The decision of Lee marks a continuation in a low season of changes for the Cowboys in longevity and leadership, after the defensive lineman Tyrone Crawford, a nine-season veteran, also chose to retire, and with the club moving on without the 16-season long center, LP Ladouceur.

With Lee Y Crawford outside, DeMarcus Lawrence, the 2014 second-round pick, is the longest-serving defender on the Los Angeles’ roster. Cowboys. Randy Gregory, a second-round recruit the following year, follows.

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