Sean Lee said he modeled his game after Dan Connor, one of the seven free agents the Cowboys signed in the offseason.
Connor is expected to compete with second-year player Bruce Carter for a spot opposite Lee, the Cowboys’ leading tackler last year, at inside linebacker in the 3-4 defense.
“He was a guy that I modeled myself after in college and a guy that I really looked up to,” Lee said Wednesday night at a charity event at the Gaylord Texan in Grapevine. “He’s a guy that’s an extremely hard worker. He’s a guy that leads by example every day. He had a great career at Penn State. He’s a really good linebacker and a complete player. I’m excited to play with him again.”
Lee and Connor played together at Penn State in 2007, when Connor set the school’s career tackles record.
But Lee is also optimistic about Carter, the Cowboys’ second-round draft pick a year ago who will go into this season fully recovered from knee surgery in his last year of college at North Carolina.
“He looks great,” Lee said. “We’ve been working out together at the facility. The knee isn’t an issue. I think he’s ready to go. I think he did a great job coming off a knee injury and transitioning to the NFL. He’s very talented. We need him to step up for us, and I think he understands that. I think he’s going to put the work in. It’s a matter of time until he becomes a very good football player.”
The emergence of Lee and Carter, combined with the signing of Connor, probably leaves no room for veterans Keith Brooking and Bradie James. But Lee said either player could still help.
“Brook and Bradie are both unbelievable football players. I look up to Brook. I look up to Bradie," Lee said. "Brook’s a guy that I think is underrated and still can do a lot of good things for a football team. Obviously, from a leadership standpoint, from a football standpoint, we’d love to have him back. But obviously, there’s a business involved with that. We’ve got to let things play themselves out.”
-- Carlos Mendez