“Growing up, when you talk about linebacking, when you talk about playing tough, hard-nosed, everybody says Dick Butkus,” Lee said.
Lee doesn’t come across as the shy type, but according to coach Jason Garrett, Lee was “a little intimidated” to meet the Hall of Fame linebacker.
Butkus, who lives in nearby Malibu, attended Wednesday’s walk-through practice as a guest of a local car dealer who is friends with Jerry Jones. At Garrett’s invitation, Butkus stayed after practice to talk to Lee.
“Who’s the greatest middle linebacker ever to play? Dick Butkus is. So if you’re a linebacker playing in this league, and you love the game and you have a passion for the game as much as Sean Lee does, I think that’s a natural connection,” Garrett said. “Sean Lee, I think he was a little intimidated, and I don’t know that he wanted to go up to him. I just made sure that that happened. Dick and I talked about Sean at the early part of the walkthrough, and how much he admires how Sean plays. He said the same thing about DeMarcus Ware and some other guys on our team. It was a privilege for all of us just to have him around, and he’s certainly one of the icons of the game.”
Butkus had kind words for Lee, who has 253 tackles and seven interceptions in three seasons but will be playing his first in the 4-3.
“I’ve been watching him,” Butkus said. “He’s a good one. He’s an old-school guy I understand. …Yeah, he’s for real.”
Lee said he was honored that Butkus would speak so highly of him.
“That’s as good as it gets,” Lee said. “When you have the best linebacker of all time saying that about you. …To have that is an unbelievable honor.”
-- Charean Williams