On Wednesday evening, I just happened to be standing outside the scouting office visiting with Tom Ciskowski when Sean Lee appeared in the door way after signing his six-year contract extension with the club. As Lee proceeded down the hallway for a few steps, he turned and walked back to Ciskowski, extending his hand and thanked him for what he had done by drafting him for the Cowboys back in 2010.
Having worked with Tom for several years, I could tell that he was touched by Lee's gesture. After some brief words of congratulations, Lee smiled and walked away. Ciskowski then turned to me and said "You wish you could draft 11 guys just like him".
What made this a simple deal for the Cowboys is that you had a player that truly loved being in Dallas and was anxious to continue his career here but more importantly, you had a front office and a coaching staff that were just as anxious to keep him here. There has always been something uniquely different about Lee. He has never been an ordinary, run-of-the-mill type of player.
With Sean Lee, there is no guesswork because every day you see it on the field, down after down. He is one of those players that could have played in any era. Whether he was tackling Red Grange in the open field or intercepting a pass in the flat from Peyton Manning to seal a game, Sean Lee is one of those guys that just makes plays and when he doesn't, it just kills him inside.
Coaches preach to their players about finishing the play but Lee takes it to a whole another level. With the mental, effort and desire, is tremendous skill. In my 13 years as a scout in this league, I had never seen a linebacker that reads schemes as fast as he does. His reactions and awareness in which he plays with are rare. He truly has a gift for playing the linebacker position.
I fondly remember several times last season, talking with him at breakfast in the player's dining hall about a wide variety of subjects. What I enjoyed most about the conversations were how he always had an intelligent, well thought out answers to any subject matter in which you wanted to tackle with him. I would pick his brain about linebacker drops or what he thought the best solution was to paying student athletes or even the tragic events that took place at his alma mater Penn State with former defensive coordinator, Jerry Sandusky. Lee was always prepared to have an answer for you that made sense.
For the Dallas Cowboys, these are the types of deals make perfect sense for the club and what it holds for the future. With Sean Lee, nobody will push himself any harder to live up to every penny he is paid in this contract. Give credit to the front office for getting the deal done but also give credit to Lee and his agent Mike McCartney for working to make this happen.
In the past, we have seen this organization make deals that have not always turned out for the best and they have had to live with them but in this case, I believe that both sides know it will be an outstanding partnership.