IRVING, Texas – There might be a "doom and gloom" mentality around Valley Ranch these days after Sean Lee's season-ending toe injury. But there is one person who seems to believe the Cowboys' defense will continue to get better despite missing their leading tackler.
And that would be one Sean Lee.
Supported by his crutches, Lee spoke to reporters for a few minutes outside of the locker room on Thursday and gave plenty of votes of confidence for the overall defensive unit, and particularly fellow linebacker Bruce Carter and Dan Connor. Lee said he will be as engaged with the club as possible with meetings, practices and definitely the games.
"If I disconnect, I'm not part of the team at all," Lee said. "If I can help in a small way, it'll still help. I think this defense will continue to get better with or without me. I want to be a part of it. I'm so excited to see Bruce Carter, Dan Connor play. Those are guys who have gotten better and better and are ready to step up. I think this defense is going to continue to get better."
But Lee is a football player and he couldn't deny how much he'll miss not being there the rest of the season.
"I loved being there on Sundays and playing for the Dallas Cowboys," Lee said. It's a blessing each time I go out there it's a blessing to be able to play. I've dealt with this before. I'm still a part of this. I'm going to stay extremely positive."
Lee said another frustrating aspect of this week is the simple fact he won't play again – because of a big toe. This coming from a guy who had a torn ACL in college that forced him to miss an entire season.
"Yeah I've dealt with bigger injuries than this and you think a big toe wouldn't affect you like it does," he said. "It's one of those things – it's not going to get better unless I get surgery. I have to get the surgery done. Unfortunately, it's a couple of months."
When Lee left the locker room in Carolina on Sunday, he thought it'd be closer to a couple of days.
"I didn't think it was great because it got worse and worse as I got out of the game," Lee said. "But I didn't think it would be something like out for the season, especially the way it happened – a fluke play where I'm trying to make a tackle. Their tight end lands on my foot as I'm driving. He falls over a pile and bends my toe all the way back to my foot. It's one of those things you can't really avoid. It's frustrating in that sense."
Lee is expected to have surgery next Tuesday and said he fully expects to be ready for the start of offseason conditioning and drills, along with all minicamp and OTA practices.