On a gloomy Southern California night under the shine of prime time and the Saturday night lights of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, the Dallas Cowboys‘ season came to its conclusion and perhaps along with it the decorated career of linebacker Sean Lee.
In the aftermath of Dallas’ 30-22 NFC Divisional Round defeat to the Rams, Lee bestowed upon reporters the news that he would speak first with his family before ultimately deciding if he had played his last down.
"Obviously I’ll talk to my family and see what the deal is," Lee said via SportsDay’s Jon Machota. "All I know I’m blessed to be here. I love being here (and) I love playing football. Got to figure things out.
"It’s a long offseason. It’s something that I’ll do at some point. Right now I’m just frustrated with this loss."
Having limped through a season in which he played sparingly due to a hamstring injury and the emergence of rookie Leighton Vander Esch, Lee played on consecutive defensive series and both saw the Rams emerge with touchdowns. He played in only seven regular season games (five starts) and in the Cowboys‘ playoff-opening win against the Seahawks saw only four snaps.
Once the heart of the Cowboys‘ D, Lee’s perhaps final days in Dallas have become defined by a bum hamstring. Lee has never played in more than 15 games in a season and did that just twice, as he missed five games in the 2017 season. He was absent for all of the 2014 year with a torn ACL.
The two-time Pro Bowler and one-time All-Pro has often been complimented for his work ethic and his willingness to help along teammates, who he’s revered by along with the Cowboys faithful.
If Lee’s playing career has come to an end, it will have encompassed parts of nine seasons with the versatile and athletic backer having compiled 688 tackles (four seasons of more than 100) and 13 interceptions, including two seasons with four.
"We’ll see," Lee said via Fox 4 Sports. "I’m going to take some time to think about it. Obviously, health is a major issue. Trying to stay healthy is something I need to do if I want to keep playing, but I do love playing the game.
"I love this organization. So we’ll figure it out."