Lee's injury has Cowboys' Rob Ryan close to tears

IRVING -- Dallas Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan called his brother Rex, the head coach of the New York Jets, a liar for saying he literally cried when talking about Sean Lee's season-ending toe injury.

Rob Ryan said he only cries when watching Lifetime movies with his wife, but he laments the number of injuries the Cowboys have had on defense this season.

"We have so many damn injuries. Of course I was [griping] to my twin brother. We've only had like two guys not get hurt this year on defense, which is crazy. He did talk me off the plank," Ryan said. "Football hardens you. Injuries are part of it. But I wasn't crying tears, actual tears. I save that for the movies I watch with my wife. My God, you guys ever watch Lifetime? Don't. Trust me, don't."

Lee's toe is the second season-ending injury for Ryan's defense joining strong safety Barry Church (torn Achilles). Among the starters who have missed games are nose tackle Jay Ratliff, linebacker Anthony Spencer, defensive end Kenyon Coleman and safety Gerald Sensabaugh.

Ryan acknowledged that Lee is worth crying over.

"Absolutely. No question, and I probably should have cried," Ryan said. "We're doing a good job. Sean's always around. As classy of a person as he is, he's out here every day helping.

"Selfishly, I feel terrible for myself and our guys, but I know we've responded unbelievably all year to all the injuries that we've had."

Church money

Safety Barry Church started three games at strong safety this season before going on injured reserve with a torn Achilles. The Cowboys obviously liked what they saw from Church, who made eight tackles and a fumble recovery and broke up two passes. They rewarded him with a four-year contract extension worth roughly $9 million Friday, according to sources.

Church got a $2.5 million signing bonus and $3.9 million in guaranteed money. With incentives, the deal could be worth as much as $12.4 million.

Church was in the final year of a three-year deal he signed as a rookie free agent. He was making a base salary of $400,000. He would have been a restricted free agent at season's end.

Rob Ryan said Church is a future star and the deal was well deserved.

"That's awesome, this guy and all you guys saw it, he's going to be a superstar in this league," Ryan said.

Injury updates

Linebacker DeMarcus Ware missed practice for third consecutive day with the flu virus, but he is listed as probable on the injury report and is expected to play Sunday against the Giants.

"God, I hope so. He better play," Rob Ryan said. "He'll play, I'm sure he will. He's been sick. He's been battling that hamstring all year and all this other stuff and now the illness, but there's only one DeMarcus Ware, and he'll be out there on Sunday. Does he need all the work? I'm going to say no."

Running back Felix Jones was a limited participant in practice Friday with a bruised knee. He is listed as questionable for the game. If he can't play, Phillip Tanner will start against the Giants.


Cowboys Stadium is hosting a Rally Day today from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The event includes appearances by the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders, Rowdy, inflatables for kids, Warner Brothers Batmobile and photo opportunities with the Super Bowl trophies. There is free parking with purchase of a stadium tour.

On Sunday, parking lots open at 10 a.m. The East Plaza opens at 10 a.m. for a tailgate party open to all ticketed patrons; West Plaza and stadium gates open at 1 p.m. Kickoff is scheduled for 3:25 p.m.

Clarence E. Hill Jr.


Twitter: @clarencehilljr

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