American Football Database
For those of a similar name, see Shawn Lee (disambiguation).
Sean Lee
File:Sean Lee Texans vs Cowboys.jpg
Lee with the Cowboys in 2010
No. 50     Dallas Cowboys
Personal information
Date of birth: (1986-07-22) July 22, 1986 (age 35)
Place of birth: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
High School: Upper St. Clair High School
Height: 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m) Weight: 245 lb (111 kg)
Career information
College: Penn State
NFL Draft: 2010 / Round: 2 / Pick: 55
Debuted in 2010 for the Dallas Cowboys
Career history
Roster status: Injured Reserve
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of 2012
Tackles     195
Sacks     0.0
INTs     7
Forced fumbles     2
Stats at

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

Early life

He is the son of Craig Lee and Geralyn 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

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

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

  • 2007 Alamo Bowl Defensive MVP
  • Third-team Athlon Sports pre-season All-Big Ten[5]
  • Second-team Sporting News pre-season All-Big Ten Six Nittany Lions Named To The Sporting News’ All-Big Ten Team
  • He was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week after his effort in the Florida International game on September 1, 2007, and again following Penn State's 31-6 victory over Temple on September 19, 2009.[6][7]
  • He was named Big Ten co-Defensive Player of the Week with Ohio State's James Laurinaitis following his efforts in the Purdue game on November 3, 2007

Professional career


Pre-draft measureables
Ht Wt 40-yd dash 10-yd split 20-yd split 20-ss 3-cone Vert Broad BP Wonderlic
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 rep

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


Lee was selected by the Dallas Cowboys with the 55th overall selection in the 2010 NFL Draft. After the draft, Wade Phillips said that he thought Lee could play both inside linebacker positions ("Mike" & "Mo") in the Cowboys 3–4 defense. Lee was bothered by nagging injuries in training camp, in doing so failed to see a lot of action on the field.[8]

He did earn 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 his 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 with 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 lead 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. On the eighth game of the season, Sean Lee was inactive due to the wrist injury sustained the previous week.[16]

Lee ended up having a break out 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]


Sean Lee's season opener started strong. He ended the game against New York Giants with 10 tackles, 2 assists and a forced fumble on David Wilson. He 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. Jordan did it on September 26, 1971 against the Philadelphia Eagles. Against the Carolina Panthers, Lee injured his right big toe, and was placed on injured reserve.[17]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Sullivan, Jeff (Vol. 37, Issue 27). "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.
  10. Florio, Mike (2010-12-08). "Sean Lee is the NFC defensive player of the week".
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 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. "Cowboys lose leading tackler Lee to toe injury". Yahoo! Sports. 2012-10-24. Retrieved 2012-10-24.

External links