Sean Lee retires after excellent, but injury-riddled career

The Dallas Cowboys are losing the heart and soul of their defense. Linebacker Sean Lee is retiring after 11 strong, but injury-riddled seasons with the team, according to ESPN.

Lee, 34, was selected by the team in the second round of the 2010 NFL draft. After a solid rookie year, Lee broke out in his second season, racking up 104 tackles. He was limited to just 6 games in 2012, but bounced back in 2013, picking up 99 tackles in 11 games. Lee then missed the entire 2014 season after tearing his ACL.

Lee returned from the injury and looked like he hadn't lost a step. From 2015 to 2017, he played his best football, starting 40 games and registering 374 combined tackles. Lee made two Pro Bowls and one All-Pro team over that period. 

More injuries set in at the end of the 2017 season. Lee missed time with a hamstring strain in November. He dealt with another hamstring strain the following season, which limited Lee to just 7 games. Lee dealt with a knee injury in training camp in 2019, but was able to play in 13 games that season. He appeared in 9 games in 2020 after undergoing surgery for a sports hernia in September.

Sean Lee retires a Cowboys icon

Lee walks away from the game as a Cowboys icon. He ranks eighth in franchise history with 521 solo tackles, fourth in franchise history in tackles for loss and fourth among Cowboys linebackers with 14 interceptions. 

Lee also holds the record for most tackles in a game by a Cowboys player. In 2016, Lee recorded 22 tackles in a game against the New York Giants. That set the team record for most tackles in a game. Lee is also tied for second on that list after picking up 21 tackles in a single game twice in his career. Lee Roy Jordan previously held the franchise record with 21 tackles in a game against the Philadelphia Eagles in 1971. 

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