Jerry Jones on Sean Lee’s future with Cowboys: ‘It’s just starting’
Wearing a suit coat and sitting at a table alongside his boss after announcing his retirement, Sean Lee spoke with the same passion that oozed from his pores for eleven seasons as a Dallas Cowboys linebacker.
“When you pour gasoline on a fire inside of yourself for twenty-five years,” Lee said, “it’s hard to put it out.”
If team owner Jerry Jones has his way, that fire’s not being doused, per se. Just allowed to let smolder temporarily.
Jones, despite a knack for sometimes talking in confusing circles, made it crystal-clear during the Tuesday press conference that there will always be a place for Lee at the Cowboys’ table.
“My dream would be that,” Jones offered, “relative to our organization, this wouldn’t be the last time- at all- that we’re sitting here in some manner together.”
Jerry Jones when he bought the Cowboys, sitting next to Sean Lee, who announced his retirement: “I dreamed, I hoped I could be associated with people like Sean Lee.”
— Todd Archer (@toddarcher) April 27, 2021
Many expect Lee to transition to coaching, and Jones all but painted a picture of a not-too-distant future press conference announcing the two-time Pro Bowler as an addition to the Cowboys staff.
But first, Lee says, there’s a long beach vacation coming. So any decision to strap on a headset instead of a helmet will have to wait a while.
“Well, it’s hard to get off that beach once you’re out there and relaxing. It’s fun,” Lee laughed. “I know right now, I feel so lucky and blessed. So you take a little bit of a breather and you start to assess things. I know my wife likes being out on the beach more than I do, so I’m going to let her take control of that for a while, and we’ll figure out things as we go. I know that being here, I love this organization, I want to be involved. I want to help any way I can. I know that for sure.”
But Lee also acknowledged the heavy toll that coaching in the NFL demands. And until he can commit to that role with everything he has, Lee says it’s better- albeit more painful in the short-term- to step completely away for now.
“I think there’s a period right now where I’m going to miss playing. Dearly. And I think I need to get over that a little bit for a while, take some time with that, and then maybe make a decision on the back end of that.”
Lee admits, though, that as he vacations in Santa Barbara, he may just take a 45-minute cruise down the California coast to Oxnard, where the Cowboys will be holding camp.
“That’s an easy drive,” Lee joked. “I’ll definitely stop in in and say hello.”
Lee will no doubt be welcome. Jones has always saved a spot in the team’s inner circle for many of the franchise’s larger-than-life players, whether it’s as a coach, a brand ambassador, or a business partner.
“One of the great things about sports is that, especially with players, that fleeting time that they’re players doesn’t necessarily make an end to your relationship, your partnership, where you’re going forward with them,” Jones explained. “The facts are that they’re really just puppies when they leave here. They’re really just getting going when they’re not playing football. And it’s just starting.”
For Lee, the hardest part about walking away is walking away now. He expressed his fervent belief that the Cowboys are on the cusp of finally reaching the level he never quite got to experience as a player.
“This team is going in a direction where they’re going to win, and they’re going to win big soon. And that’s the thing that you always worry about. But you’re happy to watch it as you go out, because you know you were part of it in some way.”
Lee was a huge part of it. And he may be a part of it once again in the very near future.
Jones certainly hopes so.
“This is how you build on it,” Jones said of the team’s relationship with one of its all-time greats. “I’m a big believer that the legacy of the Cowboys and certainly, in this case, [Sean]’s story can be a big part of our future.”
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