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Dallas Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee is officially retiring from the NFL after 11 seasons

The General forever.

Dallas Cowboys v New Orleans Saints Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

Time in the National Football League can fly rather quickly, a lesson that we have all learned after watching many of our favorite players come and go.

Over the course of the last few years we have had to watch a number of Cowboys greats move on for different reasons: DeMarcus Ware, Tony Romo, Jason Witten, Dez Bryant, Dan Bailey, Travis Frederick, Jason Witten (again). It is never an easy thing.

Monday brought with it the news that America’s Team is seeing another all-time great hang ‘em up. ESPN’s Todd Archer was the first to report that linebacker Sean Lee is retiring after 11 seasons in the NFL.

After 11 seasons with the Cowboys, linebacker Sean Lee tells ESPN he is retiring. Injuries marked his career, but he was a two-time Pro Bowler and was a first-team All-Pro selection in 2016 and the unquestioned leader of the defense. Lee, 34, owns five of the top-seven tackle games in team history, including a record 22 vs. the Giants in 2016. He also had 14 career interceptions, returning two for touchdowns, five fumble recoveries, two forced fumbles, 59 tackles for loss and four sacks.

The Dallas Cowboys drafted Sean Lee in the second round of the 2010 NFL Draft (Dez Bryant was the team’s first-round selection) out of Penn State. He defined over a decade of Dallas Cowboys football on defense with his never-give-up attitude that team-first mantra.

The General, as he was affectionately known to Cowboys fans, arguably had more want and will in him than any other player in the National Football League. His football instincts are among the best that the league has seen during his time, unfortunately he sustained a number of injuries that took him off of the field.

Time will tell whether or not Lee is someone who finds himself in the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor. He was a fantastic player, but unfortunately he played for the team during an era where they were not able to establish legitimate success. His retirement is yet another painful reminder of how not everybody gets to win a Super Bowl.

Sean Lee has long been thought of as someone who make a great coach someday. We will also have to wait and see if that is something that is ultimately in his future, but he has served as a pseudo coach of sorts during times when he has been injured. It sure would be fun to see.

All the best to Sean Lee. Thank you for the memories.

Update: 1:00pm ET

Sean Lee has issued a statement through the Dallas Cowboys about his retirement.

“To the fans, you lifted me up when I needed it most. I didn’t want to let you down. If there’s a regret, it’s that I never helped bring a championship back home, because you deserve it so much.”

It’s getting dusty in here.