The Cowboys knew what was happening when Sean Lee went down Tuesday on the first day of OTAs – their star middle linebacker was hurt again.
Practice stopped for a moment. Someone said, “Get up.” Others cursed to themselves.
They watched Lee get up with the help of a couple of trainers and then walk off to the locker room with their help.
“It scared me,” cornerback Morris Claiborne said. “When I first saw him go down, I kind of held my breath. I haven’t talked to anybody. I don’t know what the injury is right now or how it’s going to play out. But Sean, he’s a warrior, and he’ll be back as quick as he can.”
Lee let out a string of profanities as he was helped inside, the anger clear on his face at the prospect of another injury. He has missed 17 games over the past three seasons because of hand, leg and toe injuries.
No one took the news lightly.
“I don’t know. I will just wait and see,” defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli said, asked his assessment of the injury. “He is our starting middle linebacker. He has been here for a lot of years. He is a heck of a player.”
Asked if it brought back bad memories of last year, Marinelli said, “You are going the wrong way with me. I have answered it. I will let it go at that.”
Here are some other reactions:
Safety J.J. Wilcox: “We’re just going to pray for him. Keep him in our prayers. It’s the game of football. I’m telling you, it takes you one second or one play away from getting hurt. But we don’t know the injury, so we’re just going to keep praying on and hope and wish him the best.”
Quarterback Tony Romo: “Sean’s been as committed and hard-working a teammate as I’ve ever been around. I love the guy like a brother. He’s the epitome of what you want in a football player. You always know Sean’s going to give you 100 percent. Any time you can get as many of him as you can on a football team, you’ve got a great chance.”
Cornerback Brandon Carr: “It's very unfortunate; hopefully he can get back on his feet as fast as he can. You don't want to see that, especially on Day 1 of OTA.”
Running back Ryan Williams: “ I can relate to it. We are not machines. We are human. Everyone knows when he is on the field he makes plays, but stuff happens. Even not being here, I know that. Now what he has to do is dig down, get healthy and shut everybody up.”
Tight end Jason Witten: “Honestly, I have no idea what happened. I was in on the play. Obviously, just in general, he’s a guy that’s worked really hard since he got here, one of the hardest working guys on the team. Great approach, he’s passionate, he’s tough. Any time you see that guy with an injury, you always feel bad for him. Everyone’s trying to be positive. Hopefully he’ll bounce back.”
-- Carlos Mendez