Dallas Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee was more deserving for Pro Bowl honors than Carolina Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly this season, but it took Kuechly pulling out of the game for Lee to make it.
The NFL named Lee to the team Tuesday.
He will join five other teammates – Travis Frederick, Ezekiel Elliott, Dak Prescott, Zack Martin and Tyron Smith – as well as the Cowboys coaching staff.
Although Lee plays weakside linebacker, the Cowboys listed him as an inside linebacker on the Pro Bowl ballot. He finished third in voting behind Seattle’s Bobby Wagner, who led the league in tackles, and Kuechly.
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Kuechly missed 10 games with injuries. He never returned to the field after a Week 11 concussion against the Saints.
Lee finished the season with a team-leading 174 tackles, including 120 solos, with 12 tackles for loss, four quarterback pressures and two pass breakups. He was rewarded with All-Pro honors for the first time.
Lee stayed healthy all year long and would have played all 16 games for the first time if not for sitting out the meaningless regular-season finale at Philadelphia as a precaution. Lee did not leave the field the first 14 games, playing every defensive snap.
He played more than 80 percent of the team’s defensive snaps this season, hitting an incentive that will increase his 2017 base salary from $7 million to $9 million.