Sean Lee
Sean Lee

Sean Lee
Sean Patrick Lee (born July 22, 1986) is an American football linebacker in the NFL for the Dallas Cowboys. He played college football at Penn State.

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For those of a similar name, see Shawn Lee (disambiguation). Sean Lee Lee in 2015No. 50 – Dallas CowboysPosition: LinebackerPersonal informationBorn: (1986-07-22) July 22, 1986 (age 32)
Pittsburgh, PennsylvaniaHeight: 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)Weight: 245 lb (111 kg)Career informationHigh school: Upper St. Clair
(Upper St. Clair, Pennsylvania)College: Penn StateNFL Draft: 2010 / Round: 2 / Pick: 55Career history Roster status: ActiveCareer highlights and awards Career NFL statistics as of 2017 Total tackles: 668Sacks: 2.5Forced fumbles: 2Fumble recoveries: 4Interceptions: 13Defensive touchdowns: 2 Player stats at

Sean Patrick Lee[1] (born July 22, 1986) is an American football linebacker in the NFL for the Dallas Cowboys. He played college football at Penn State. He was selected by the Cowboys in the second round of the 2010 NFL Draft.

Contents Early life

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.

High school

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.[2] 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.[2]

College career

After graduating from Upper St. Clair High School in Upper St. Clair Township, Pennsylvania, Lee went on to play college football at Penn State. At this time he was rooming with fellow high school star Douglas Rheam of Canon McMillan. 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.[3] Despite being forced to take a medical redshirt for the 2008 season, Lee's teammates elected him a team captain that season.[4] 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.[2]

Lee's teammates again elected him team captain prior to the 2009 season.[5]

College awards and honors Professional career Pre-draft measurables Ht Wt 40-yard dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert jump Broad BP 6 ft 2 1⁄8 in
(1.88 m) 236 lb
(107 kg) 4.72 s 1.61 s 2.63 s 4.16 s 6.89 s 37.5 in
(0.95 m) 10 ft 0 in
(3.05 m) 24 reps All values from NFL Combine/Penn State's Pro Day 2010

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 through 2017, injuries have indeed prevented Lee from playing a full season's slate of NFL games. Lee was the fourth linebacker selected in the draft, behind Rolando McClain (first round, 8th overall), Sean Weatherspoon (first round, 19th overall), and Daryl Washington (second round, 47th overall).

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.[8] He was bothered by nagging injuries in training camp; consequently, he failed to see a lot of action on the field.[9]

He earned NFC Defensive Player of the Week and Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Week honors for his December 5, 2010, performance versus Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts, in which he recorded the first two interceptions of his pro career, including one he returned for a touchdown and one in overtime to set up the game-winning field goal.[10][11]


Promoted to starting inside linebacker in 2011, Lee thrived immediately in new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan's scheme.[12] In the opening game versus the New York Jets, Lee intercepted Mark Sanchez to earn the 3rd 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.[13]

By week three, Lee had a team-leading 36 tackles, 2 interceptions, 2 fumble recoveries, a tackle for a loss, and three pass breakups,[12] earning him NFC Defensive Player of the Month honors.[12] He was the first Cowboys player in franchise history to win the award.[12]

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.[14][15][16] 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. Lee 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, Sean Lee was inactive due to the wrist injury which he sustained the previous week.[17]


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.[2] 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.[8]

During the Week 4 game against the San Diego Chargers, Lee had 18 tackles and returned an interception 52 yards for his 2nd career touchdown.[18] During the month of October, Lee led the Cowboys with 52 tackles (3 for loss) and 3 interceptions. One of his 2 interceptions against the Detroit Lions in week 8 included a career-high 74 yard return. His strong performances led to Lee being named NFC Defensive Player of the Month.[19]


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.[20] On July 2, he was placed on the injured reserve list and was replaced by Rolando McClain.[21]


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.[22] On December 7 against the Washington Redskins, he posted 13 tackles, two tackles for loss and one sack.

He 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 named First-team All-Pro as a linebacker for the first time in his career. [23] Lee was named to his second straight Pro Bowl as an injury replacement for Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly.[24]


Lee was ranked 79th on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2017.[25]

Career statistics NFL career statistics Season Tackles Fumbles Interceptions Year Team GP GS Comb Solo Asst Sack FF FR Yds TD Int Yds Avg Lng TD PD 2010 DAL 14 0 32 27 5 0.0 1 0 0 0 2 44 22.0 31 1 2 2011 DAL 15 15 105 71 34 0.0 0 1 0 0 4 87 21.8 37 0 7 2012 DAL 6 6 58 36 22 0.0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0.0 0 0 3 2013 DAL 11 11 99 68 31 0.0 0 1 10 0 4 174 43.5 74 1 6 2014 DAL Did not play due to injury 2015 DAL 14 14 128 76 52 2.5 0 0 0 0 1 0 0.0 0 0 5 2016 DAL 15 15 145 93 52 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.0 0 0 1 Career 75 61 567 371 196 2.5 2 2 10 0 12 305 25.4 74 2 24 References
  1. ^ "Sean Lee Pro-Football-Reference Profile". 
  2. ^ a b c d Sullivan, Jeff. "Student of the Game". Dallas Cowboys Star Magazine. [permanent dead link]
  3. ^ "#45 Sean Lee". Penn State. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-07-10. 
  4. ^ "Nittany Lions Announce Captains for 2008 Season". Pennsylvania State University. Retrieved 2008-04-29. 
  5. ^ "Clark and Lee Elected 2009 Nittany Lion Co-Captains". Penn State Intercollegiate Athletics. 2009-05-19. 
  6. ^ "Lee Earns Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week Accolades". Penn State Intercollegiate Athletics. September 20, 2009. 
  7. ^ "Penn State's Sean Lee Gets Big 10 Honor". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. September 21, 2009. 
  8. ^ a b " Sean Lee contract". Retrieved December 8, 2017. 
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ Florio, Mike (2010-12-08). "Sean Lee is the NFC defensive player of the week". 
  12. ^ a b c d Graziano, Dan (2011-09-28). "Sean Lee is NFC Defensive Player of Month". ESPN. 
  13. ^ Orsborn, Tom (2011-09-28). "Cowboys' Lee named NFC Defensive Player of the Month". San Antonio Express-News. 
  14. ^ Ellis, Josh (2011-11-02). "Uncertain Lee - Lee Doubtful Sunday; No Surgery Planned". Archived from the original on 2011-11-03. 
  15. ^ NFL Playbook Staff (2011-10-31). "Playbook: Sean Lee's injury hurts Cowboy D". 
  16. ^ Nick Eatman (2011-10-31). "Game-Day Notebook - Notebook: Wrist Injury Could Sideline Lee". Archived from the original on 2011-11-02. 
  17. ^ Rob Phillips (2011-11-06). "Lee, McBriar Inactive; Romo The Holder". 
  18. ^ Archer, Todd. "Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee laments late touchdown". NFL Nation. ESPN. Retrieved 2 November 2013. 
  19. ^ Kavner, Rowan. "Sean Lee Named October Defensive Player Of Month". Dallas Cowboys. Retrieved 2 November 2013. 
  20. ^ "Cowboys, Zack Martin will face scrutiny over Sean Lee injury". Pro Football Talk. 27 May 2014. Retrieved 27 May 2014. 
  21. ^ "Report: MRI confirms torn ACL for Sean Lee". Pro Football Talk. 27 May 2014. Retrieved 27 May 2014. 
  22. ^ Phillips, Rob. "After Posting 14 Tackles, Lee Named NFC Defensive Player Of The Week". Dallas Cowboys. Retrieved 23 September 2015. 
  23. ^ "Three rookies, Matt Ryan among players named to All-Pro team". January 6, 2017. 
  24. ^ "Cowboys LB Sean Lee replaces Panthers' Luke Kuechly on Pro Bowl roster". January 17, 2017. 
  25. ^ NFL Top 100 Players of 2017 - No. 79 Sean Lee
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