Breaking News
More () »

Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee retiring after 11 years in the NFL

The two-time pro bowler is hanging it up after a stellar, but injury-plagued career.

DALLAS — Two-time pro bowl linebacker Sean Lee has decided to retire after an 11-year career with the Dallas Cowboys.

Lee had an impressive career with the Cowboys which included a first team All-Pro honor in 2016. Injuries plagued what would have been an otherwise stellar tenure in the NFL. One of the most brilliant diagnosticians the league has ever known, Lee was renowned for his ability to read an offensive play design and meet a ballcarrier in the hole with incredible regularity.

Lee missed the 2014 season with a torn ACL, but rebounded to have his two best seasons in 2015 and 2016, when he was named to the Pro Bowl each year. He recorded 128 tackles in 2015, and then a career-best 145 in 2016.

Lee only played a full 16-game season once in his career, in 2019. He battled injuries throughout his career. It was a wrist injury in his rookie season of 2011. A right big toe injury in 2012. The ACL injury during OTAs in 2014 wiped out that entire season. In 2015 he was able to play most of the season, but missed two games because of a concussion and a hamstring injury.

RELATED: Sean Lee’s retirement leaves Cowboys with more questions at linebacker

Despite his rash of injuries that continued through the balance of his career, Lee remained a key piece of the Cowboys defense. The Dallas defense was always better and more prepared when he was on the field, and the results showed that year after year.

Lee finishes his career with 747 tackles, 60 tackles for loss, 4 sacks, and 14 interceptions.

In a letter, Lee said it was his "time to walk away."

The letter went on to thank the Jones family, coaches, teammates, staff, family, fans - and the game of football.

"It changed my life," Lee wrote. "Whenever I'm near a field, the smell brings me back to when I first started playing, pulling on a helmet, trying on those shoulder pads, that perfect tackle. 

"To think of the journey now, experiencing things I never thought possible with the men and women who make this game what it is, I'm beyond grateful," he continued.

"Thank you Cowboys Nation. I has been my honor."