The football world ended for the Dallas Cowboys in May of 2014, or so we thought. During the team's first organized activities prior to the 2014 football season the Cowboys middle linebacker and defensive leader went down with a torn ACL. It was not actually the end of the world as things played out. The Cowboys went on to make their first playoff appearance since the 2009 season. Life goes on, but for Sean Lee, life without football was something that he was not accustomed to experiencing. It was something that he did not relish.
"I feel great. I mean I obviously haven't played football for a long time but I think I've come back and I think done a good job in practice. But one thing is taking it to the game, that's the next step. That's something I need to do." - Sean Lee
The linebacker pushed to be able to take part in the Cowboys most recent preseason contest but it was not to be. While fellow stand out linebacker NaVorro Bowman made his return from injury for the San Francisco 49ers, Lee was held out. With his value to the team, and his injury history, it is hard to argue the decision to keep Lee off the field. Add in the questions regarding the turf at Levis Stadium, it was a no-brainer to sit the linebacker. That did not make it any easier on the player though.
"You want to be out there with your guys and you want to be playing football but they have a plan for me and I'm just following it. Next week should be a good week to start playing."
The Cowboys have their plans for Lee and that includes bringing him along slowly. Nothing in the preseason matters when the fur starts to fly in week one. There is no reason to risk another lost season due to injury when there is nothing to be gained. The team will most likely let Lee get his feet wet during the dress rehearsal game on Saturday at Cowboys Stadium. The may even go so far as to allow him to get additional work in when the Houston Texans come to town to close out the preseason. No matter what, Jason Garrett and Co. are looking big picture. They know that Lee needs to play, but they will wait until it really matters to let him get much work in.
This has been the plan for over a year. They have been cautious every step of the way. The Cowboys will not rush the progress at this late stage. Lee has come a long way from his injury, and although he is rearing to go, this is the time to be patient. He still has a lot left to do, but that will come once things get real against the New York Giants .
"It's time for me to keep ramping up and that's the plan they have. To load and continue to build. We've done a good job of that. Now it's time hopefully to get into playing a lot more football."
Two more weeks, Sean, two more weeks. We are as excited as you are, but we also want to play things smart.