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August 22, 2013

Jason Garrett on Sean Lee: He's the heart and soul of this defense

Jason Garrett couldn't be happier for linebacker Sean Lee. He's even more happy that the Cowboys now have Lee under contract through 2019.

On Wednesday, Lee signed a six-year, $42 million extension with a $10 million signing bonus and $16.15 million guaranteed.

"I just think it’s fantastic," Garrett said Thursday before practice, the team's first comments about the deal. "Sean Lee represents, embodies, personifies everything we think is good in football. He’s an outstanding football player. He cares a great deal about the game. He has a tremendous passion for the game. His work ethic is off the charts. He’s a productive player and he just goes about it the way you want him to go about it. A great example to the rest of his teammates. A natural leader the first time he got here. I think everybody responded to what he was all about. To be able to lock him up for an extended period of time was a really positive thing for our football team."

Despite the fact that Lee has played only 35 games in three seasons, he has become a team leader. That as much as the potential the Cowboys see in him as a future Pro Bowl player is why they locked him up to a long-term deal.

"Just come to practice, watch him play in games," Garrett said. "Everybody recognizes how good of a football player he is. [Injures have] been an issue in his career. Last year, he missed significant portions of the season, and I thought we did a good job as a football team overcoming his absence. It’s hard to do that when you’ve got a player as good as he is when you take him out of the lineup.

"He’s the heart and soul of this defense, a guy that everybody responds to because he plays the right way, prepares the right way, is committed the right way, great passion for the game, and he shows it every single day."

-- Charean Williams

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