FRISCO - The Dallas Cowboys could be missing three starters in Sunday's NFL Week 16 game against the visiting Philadelphia Eagles, but Sean Lee is ready to come to the rescue.
"I think physically at times, you’re like, 'You’ve been through a lot,'' the oft-injured standout linebacker said on Wednesday, in answer to a question about retirement consideration that is really his answer about football in general. "And then I get out there and I feel great, and I’m able to help, and that pushes me to come back a lot of times.”
"I love this game too much. I love this organization a lot. And I love playing ... I'm addicted to it.''
It is the opinion of smart football people that Lee, 34, was a Hall-of-Famer waiting to happen, a career-long serious of injuries derailing that destiny. But he remains an institution here, and a role model as one of the toughest and best-prepared players in franchise history.
And he's prepared to start in place of Leighton Vander Esch (ankle) on Sunday.
"This is as good as I've felt," Lee said about his physical status this season.
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The 5-9 Cowboys truly figure to get a boost from the participation of Lee as he'll help keep track of new Eagles rookie QB Jalen Hurts. But Dallas could be short-handed elsewhere on defense, with coach Mike McCarthy on Wednesday suggesting that in addition to Vander Esch, Safety Xavier Woods and defensive tackle Antwaun Woods, who also missed practice due to injury, are in question for the weekend.
Meanwhile, by the way, running back Ezekiel Elliott's calf injury is improving and he expects to play.
The subject of Lee as a future coach has come up often in recent years, in conjunction with questions about Lee's on-the-horizon retirement. He politely fielded questions about that subject on Wednesday, saying, "I don't know what's going to happen."
And then he turned it back into prep-for-Sunday talk.
"I really don't think about it,'' he said, specifically about the prospect of maybe playing his final home game, while also addressing the big picture, "because the game is so tough, and I try to prepare a certain way where (the opponent is) your focus.''