— NFL (@NFL) April 26, 2021
The two-time Pro Bowler (2015 and 2016) was dominant when healthy, but injuries were a constant.
Without the injuries, could Lee have been a Hall of Famer?
Maybe, but no one can say for sure because injuries were the sub headline of his career.
Sean Lee’s Retirement Announcement
Lee talked with ESPN after announcing his retirement.
“It’s been a complete honor. I’ve been blessed to play for the incredible Jones family, with such great coaches and teammates that I love like brothers. I loved every minute playing and tried to pour my heart and soul into winning and helping my teammates at all costs.
“To say the injuries were frustrating would be an understatement, but the support I received through them all was humbling and the lessons I learned battling adversity will last a lifetime. There are always regrets, but I’m proud of what I was able to accomplish and I leave this game grateful.”
Lee technically only played 10 of the 11 seasons he was in the NFL.
He was out for the entire 2014 season with a torn ACL.
Lee only played a full 16 game season one time in his career; that was in 2019.
He played 118 career regular-season games and 3 postseason games in his career.
Lee missed 58 total games with knee, back, hamstring, toe, and hernia injuries.
When he was healthy, Lee was a dominant player.
Everyone will talk about what a great person Sean Lee was, and rightfully so. But let’s not forget, when he was relatively healthy, he was one of the best linebackers in the NFL. Not a good player- a great player.
— Babe Laufenberg (@BabeLaufenberg) April 27, 2021
He had 14 career interceptions; 11 of those were in his first four seasons from 2010-2013.
Lee achieved a lot in his injury-shortened career; his best season was in 2016.
He started in 15 games and had 93 solo tackles and 52 assists.
Lee retires with over 520 solo tackles and 2 pick 6 plays.
2x Pro Bowl linebacker Sean Lee is hanging up his cleats.
A look back at his 11 seasons in the NFL. pic.twitter.com/YKGchQRGgJ
— NFL Throwback (@nflthrowback) April 26, 2021
Cowboys QB Dak Prescott wrote on Instagram:
“My general. Thank you for the years and countless examples of how to lead.”
Former QB Tony Romo talked about Lee’s greatness back in 2016.
“I think Sean Lee is the best linebacker in the NFL. I see him every day and should know his weaknesses. I still can’t find any.”
Lee always aspired to be an example and was often a coach on the field.
Sean Lee hopes to have passed down to younger Cowboys players “the responsibility of upholding this tradition” and sense of urgency. Believes an “immense” number of team leaders. Among them, he said: Dak Prescott, Zack Martin, Leighton Vander Esch, Jaylon Smith and Antwaun Woods.
— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) April 27, 2021
Last December as the Cowboys were winding down their 2020 season, many questioned if Sean Lee would be back in 2021.
Dallas Cowboys Coach Mike McCarthy talked about Sean Lee being a fantastic coach if he chose to go that route.
“I think I mentioned if he is dumb enough to get into coaching we should definitely talk. He would be a great coach. He would be an excellent prospect. Gosh, how can you not love Sean Lee.”
At that time, Lee said he was “addicted to football” but more from the player perspective but could consider coaching later.
“I respect that profession [coaching] so much, how much they work. It takes a lot of work to go from a player to a coach and right now I’m a player through and through. That’s my focus.’’