Column: Lee’s injury slows down Cowboys

Kunal Patel

No matter what else is going on around the league, the Dallas Cowboys just can’t seem to stay out of the national spotlight, often times for all the wrong reasons. So it was only fitting that during the NFL’s OTA period, America’s team was once again the on the receiving end of some bad news.

Rookie offensive tackle Zach Martin pancaked Sean Lee to the ground causing Lee to tear his ACL. The Cowboys tried to remain optimistic in the days after the injury, but reality set in quickly. An MRI showed just how serious the injury was: The leader of the Cowboys’ defense was out for the season before Dallas had even played a game. Now Lee will be spending his time teaching defensive schemes to young linebackers from the sidelines.

To some extent it was simply a case of bad luck falling on the Cowboys. The drill the team was participating in was supposed to be a non-contact drill. Someone must explain how the Cowboys best defensive player suffered a torn ACL after being flattened in a non-contact drill.

The injury also brings up the question of whether veteran leaders such as Lee should be told to sit out certain offseason activities. Each year, the NFL sees a plethora of top players lost to season-ending injuries in the early stages of the offseason. Teams cannot afford to keep losing key players to unnecessary injuries.

This is a year when the Cowboys will be under pressure to make the playoffs. The past three seasons, the Cowboys have been unable to get past the eight-win mark, and they have not made it to the playoffs since 2009. Owner Jerry Jones has not been quiet about his team’s struggles in recent seasons. He has set the bar high once again for his team, threatening to make drastic changes if there isn’t significant improvement. Losing defensive leader Sean Lee certainly won’t make such improvements any easier.