Dallas Cowboys defensive end Tyrone Crawford wasn’t happy when the subject of linebacker Sean Lee being snubbed of a Pro Bowl selection came up on Wednesday.
“You don’t even want to get me going. That’s what you’re trying to do, you’re trying to get me going right now,” Crawford said. “I don’t even want to get on that, man. You know, talked to Sean about it and just got a strike of humbleness from him.
“So I’m not going to go on my anger on it and my thoughts about it because I’ll get rude and then I’ll get in trouble.”
Yes, Lee’s teammates weren’t happy about seeing the defense’s leader left off. This is a unit that has been overlooked all season, yet has the top-ranked run defense with two games to play.
Lee has been credited by the coaches with a team-leading 168 tackles, and also has 12 tackles for loss. He set a franchise-record with 22 tackles two weeks ago against the New York Giants.
But Lee didn’t get Pro Bowl honors as an outside linebacker. Part of the problem is he went up against pass rushers in 3-4 defenses such as Atlanta’s Vic Beasley, who leads the NFL with 14.5 sacks, and Washington’s Ryan Kerrigan, who has 11 sacks.
Carolina’s Thomas Davis was the other outside linebacker selected.
But Lee certainly is deserving of the recognition, as his teammates well know.
“Right now, Sean is probably playing the best at the position that I’ve seen,” linebacker Justin Durant said. “It’s tough for him to get left out of it, but I think him being the person that he is it’s going to motivate him even more.”
Added center Travis Frederick, who was selected to his third Pro Bowl: “It’s disappointing to see that he wasn’t selected because I think he’s playing tremendous defensive football. He’s certainly a playmaker and a difference-maker on our team. You would’ve liked to see that, but I think he understands how we feel about him.”
Plus, Lee and the Cowboys are focused on much more than the Pro Bowl. They hope none of the five players selected are able to make the game in Orlando, Florida in late January.
After all, they’re hoping to get ready for Super Bowl LI the following week.
“[Sean] just said, ‘Hey, this is the way it happens. I’m not going to worry about it, we’ve got bigger things to worry about here,’” Crawford said. “And I told him, ‘Hey, you weren’t going to be able to go anyways.’”