Sean Lee, the team’s second-round draft pick, had two interceptions of Colts quarterback Peyton Manning. The first he returned 31 yards for a touchdown. The second led to a game-winning field goal in overtime as the Cowboys upset the Colts 38-35.
“To beat a great Colts team and play against Peyton Manning and have two picks, I’ve been blessed,” Lee said. “I was blessed by God tonight.”
Lee, who had a history of knee injuries at Penn State, missed 13 training camp practices and two preseason games with a quadriceps injury. He injured a hamstring in the season opener and missed two games.
The Cowboys, though, kept faith that they eventually would see the player they had rated as the 16th-best on draft day in April.
“He’s been hurt early on throughout the deal,” linebackers coach Reggie Herring said. “He’s had his growing pains. But he’s put together a couple of weeks back to back and is building confidence [from] our coaching staff.
“It’s a process he had to go through, and he’s going through it. He’ll continue to see more snaps as we get [more] confidence [in him]. It would nice to be able to roll those guys and keep them fresh.”
The Cowboys saw the future Sunday. So, too, did Keith Brooking.
Brooking is 35 and in his 13th NFL season. He is not long for this job. Lee, 24, was drafted to take his place.
Lee played 19 defensive snaps against the Lions two weeks ago and 11 against the Saints last week. He got his first extended playing time Sunday, because Brooking was slowed by a left foot injury. Lee’s four tackles, two interceptions and two defensed passes are an indication that he might be ready for more.
“He’s such a good kid and football is really high up on his priority list and it means a lot to him,” Brooking said, “and it was very evident from the first day I met him. So you really pull for guys like that. He’s getting everything he deserves right now because he’s put the work into it."
-- Charean Williams