Dallas Cowboys: Should Sean Lee Shut it Down?


After sustaining his second concussion in five weeks, should the Dallas Cowboys consider shutting Sean Lee down for the entire season?

Sean Lee, the Dallas Cowboys injury-prone weakside linebacker, left Sunday night’s game with a concussion. This marks his second documented concussion in five weeks and puts his playing status in question, heading into Sunday’s matchup with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

"“We are taking into consideration that he had an earlier concussion this year,” Jerry Jones said on 105.3 The Fan. “We are looking at it through that perspective. He will have to pass certain tests throughout the week. That’s going to be quite a challenge for him since one of the parts of the test will start with is that he’s had an earlier concussion in the year, so that’s quite a hurdle to overcome when you’ve had another concussion.”"

Lee, the Dallas Cowboys leading tackler this season, sustained his first concussion of the season on October 4th in New Orleans. In any concussion situation players must go through the NFL’s concussion protocol in order to be cleared for play.

Concussions have been an area of focus in the NFL over recent seasons. With long-term effects largely unknown, the NFL has faced scrutiny and lawsuits for the way they have handled head injuries in the past. In other words, it is no longer automatic that a player returns the week following a concussion.

It’s important to know, all concussions are not created equal. Some are minor, some are severe, and some are standard. Every person responds to them differently as well. A minor concussion could take more time to recover from for one individual than a serve concussion on a another individual.

Sean Lee’s situation is especially troubling since both concussions happened relatively close to one another (within five weeks). It’s widely believed that back to back concussions are much worse than spaced out concussions. Experts say they build on each other, making the second concussion much worse.

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Concussions progress, making a third potentially much worse. That’s why most experts recommend a significant amount of time off after head injuries. If health were the only concern, Lee would be encouraged to take it easy for weeks (maybe months), but this is the middle of the NFL season and players are not given that luxury.

But the Dallas Cowboys could…

The Dallas Cowboys are in a unique situation with Sean Lee as they head to their ninth game of the season. At 2-6, the Dallas Cowboys are long-shots to make the playoffs making the 2015 season a lost cause.

Sean Lee, 29, is under contract through 2019, meaning Lee is signed for a significant amount of money for the next four years. With $9.8M in guaranteed money still due him, the Dallas Cowboys would be wise to think long-term with their oft-injured defensive leader.

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If the Dallas Cowboys’ record were reversed (6-2), this would be an entirely different story. Lee would be an important cog in the Cowboys’ playoff run. But if making the playoffs is a significant statistical improbability, why risk it?

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It’s something worth considering, at the very least.