OXNARD, Calif. – Sean Lee's grown accustomed to getting compliments from most people who watch him play. It's not every day, though, that it comes from a Hall of Famer.
Former Bears middle linebacker Dick Butkus addressed the Cowboys before Wednesday's walkthrough and explained his message in his "I Play Clean" initiative, designed to educate young players on the dangers of steroids. Before practice had finished, Butkus also discussed the play of the Cowboys' middle linebacker and how he likes what he sees.
Butkus described Lee as "an old-school guy," and went on to say, "He's for real." As the walkthrough finished up, head coach Jason Garrett had Lee return to the field to speak with Butkus.
"That's as good as it gets," Lee said. "When you have one of the best, if not the best linebacker of all time, saying that about you … Growing up, when you talk about linebackers, you talk about playing tough, hard-nosed, everyone says, 'Dick Butkus.' To have that is unbelievable."
Butkus also complimented the play and character of DeMarcus Ware. Butkus described the Cowboys' defensive end as a classy guy and the kind of player he likes to see young kids look up to.
"That was my message, just that I feel they have a responsibility to show the right way to do things because there are a lot of kids that emulate them, and they look up to him," Butkus said.
It was a joy for Lee and the Cowboys defenders to listen to Butkus, but Butkus left no doubt about his allegiance to the Bears. The gruff Butkus said he still follows the Bears and the NFL all the time and is upset that Dallas got former Chicago defensive line coach Rod Marinelli.
"That's another thing I'm kind of pissed about, them taking the line coach from the Bears, because it's shown already in the brief exhibition series that they're going and getting a lot of turnovers," he said.