Sean Lee

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For those of a similar name, see Shawn Lee (disambiguation).
Sean Lee
refer to caption
Lee playing for the Cowboys in 2015
No. 50 Dallas Cowboys
Position: Outside linebacker
Personal information
Date of birth: (1986-07-22) July 22, 1986 (age 29)
Place of birth: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Height: 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Weight: 238 lb (108 kg)
Career information
High school: Upper St. Clair (PA)
College: Penn State
NFL draft: 2010 / Round: 2 / Pick: 55
Career history
Roster status: Active
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of Week 16, 2015
Total tackles: 422
Sacks: 2.5
Interceptions: 12
Forced fumbles: 2
Defensive touchdowns: 2
Player stats at

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

Early life[edit]

He is the son of Craig Lee and Gerilyn Lee of Upper St. Clair, Pennsylvania. Lee's older brother Connor 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[edit]

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.[1] In football, Lee rushed for 1,240 yards and 21 touchdowns while registering 95 tackles and four picks as a safety for an 11-1 squad his senior year.[1]

College career[edit]

A 2005 graduate of 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.[2] Despite being forced to take a medical redshirt for the 2008 season, Lee's teammates elected him a team captain that season.[3] 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.[1]

Lee was again elected team captain by his teammates prior to the 2009 season.[4]

College awards and honors[edit]

Professional career[edit]


Pre-draft measurables
Ht Wt 40-yd dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert Broad BP
6 ft 2⅛ in 236 lb 4.72 s 1.61 s 2.63 s 4.16 s 6.89 s 37.5 in 10 ft 0 in 24 reps
All values from NFL Combine, except 20-ss and 3-cone (Penn State Pro Day).

Prior to the draft, draft analyst Mike Mayock was quoted saying "I wouldn't be surprised if he snuck in late in the first round. If he doesn't, I think he's going to go in the front half of the second round. He's too good."

Dallas Cowboys[edit]


Lee dropped in the 2010 NFL Draft after suffering major injuries to both of his knees during his final two years of college football. The Dallas Cowboys traded up with the Philadelphia Eagles moving from the 59th to the 55th position, in exchange for a fourth (No. 125) round draft choice, in order to select him in the second round. After the draft, Wade Phillips said that he thought Lee could play both inside linebacker positions ("Mike" & "Mo") in the Cowboys 3–4 defense. He was bothered by nagging injuries in training camp; in doing so he failed to see a lot of action on the field.[8]

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.[9][10]


Promoted to starting inside linebacker in 2011, Lee thrived immediately in new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan’s scheme.[11] 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.[12]

By week three, Lee had a team-leading 36 tackles, 2 interceptions, 2 fumble recoveries, a tackle for a loss, and three pass breakups,[11] earning him NFC Defensive Player of the Month honors.[11] He was the first Cowboys player in franchise history to win the award.[11]

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.[13][14][15] 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.[16]


Lee ended up having a breakout season, becoming one of the defense leaders by calling all the plays, 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 to have ever intercepted both Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.[1] 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.


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.[17] 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.[18]


On May 27, 2014 it was reported that Lee tore his ACL for the third time in his career immediately prior to being blocked to the ground by rookie offensive lineman Zack Martin during an organized team activity (OTA). On July 2, 2014 the Cowboys placed Sean Lee on the injured reserve. He was replaced by Justin Durant.[19]


Lee was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week for his week 2 performance, which included 14 tackles and an interception, in the Cowboys’ 20-10 victory over the Philadelphia Eagles.[20]

Career statistics[edit]

NFL Career Statistics
Dallas Cowboys
Year Team GP Comb Solo Ast Sack FF FR FR Yds Int Int Yds Avg Long TD PD
2010 DAL 14 32 27 5 0.0 1 0 0 2 44 22.0 31 1 2
2011 DAL 15 105 71 34 0.0 0 2 0 4 87 21.8 37 0 7
2012 DAL 6 58 36 22 0.0 1 0 0 1 0 0.0 0 0 3
2013 DAL 11 99 68 31 0.0 0 1 10 4 174 43.5 74 1 6
2014 DAL Did Not Play Due to Injury
2015 DAL 14 128 76 52 2.5 0 0 0 1 0 0.0 0 0 5
Career NFL 60 422 278 144 2.5 2 3 10 12 305 25.4 74 2 23


  • Key to Abbreviations

GP = Games played
Comb = Combined tackles
Solo = Solo tackles
Ast = Assisted tackles
Sack = Quarterback sacks
FF = Fumbles forced
FR = Fumbles recovered
FR Yds = Fumble return yards
Int = Interceptions
Int Yds = Interception return yards
Avg = Interception return average
Long = Longest interception return
TD = Defensive touchdowns
PD = Passes defended


  1. ^ a b c d Sullivan, Jeff. "Student of the Game". Dallas Cowboys Star Magazine. 
  2. ^ "#45 Sean Lee". Penn State. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-07-10. 
  3. ^ "Nittany Lions Announce Captains for 2008 Season". Pennsylvania State University. Retrieved 2008-04-29. 
  4. ^ "Clark and Lee Elected 2009 Nittany Lion Co-Captains". Penn State Intercollegiate Athletics. 2009-05-19. 
  5. ^ "Connor Named To Athlon Pre-Season All-America Team". 2007-05-23. Archived from the original on 2007-09-30. Retrieved 2007-07-10. 
  6. ^ Musselman, Ron (2009-09-21). "Penn State's Sean Lee Gets Big 10 Honor". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2009-09-21. 
  7. ^ "Lee Earns Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week Accolades". Penn State Intercollegiate Athletics. 2009-09-20. 
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ Florio, Mike (2010-12-08). "Sean Lee is the NFC defensive player of the week". 
  11. ^ a b c d Graziano, Dan (2011-09-28). "Sean Lee is NFC Defensive Player of Month". ESPN. 
  12. ^ Orsborn, Tom (2011-09-28). "Cowboys’ Lee named NFC Defensive Player of the Month". San Antonio Express-News. 
  13. ^ Ellis, Josh (2011-11-02). "Uncertain Lee - Lee Doubtful Sunday; No Surgery Planned". 
  14. ^ NFL Playbook Staff (2011-10-31). "Playbook: Sean Lee’s injury hurts Cowboy D". 
  15. ^ Nick Eatman (2011-10-31). "Game-Day Notebook - Notebook: Wrist Injury Could Sideline Lee". 
  16. ^ Rob Phillips (2011-11-06). "Lee, McBriar Inactive; Romo The Holder". 
  17. ^ Archer, Todd. "Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee laments late touchdown". NFL Nation. ESPN. Retrieved 2 November 2013. 
  18. ^ Kavner, Rowan. "Sean Lee Named October Defensive Player Of Month". Dallas Cowboys. Retrieved 2 November 2013. 
  19. ^ "Report: MRI confirms torn ACL for Sean Lee". Pro Football Talk. 27 May 2014. Retrieved 27 May 2014. 
  20. ^ Phillips, Rob. "After Posting 14 Tackles, Lee Named NFC Defensive Player Of The Week". Dallas Cowboys. Retrieved 23 September 2015. 
  21. ^ "Sean Lee Stats". ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures. Retrieved 25 May 2015. 

External links[edit]