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Cowboys LB Problems Getting Worse; Sean Lee Not Returning for 6 Weeks

When it comes to the Dallas Cowboys’ linebackers, the poor keep getting poorer. After losing Leighton Vander Esch for 6-8 weeks last Sunday with an injury, it’s being reported today that Sean Lee will not be returning to the team until at least Week 8 with his own health issue.

Lee started the season on injured reserve with a hernia. Under the unique COVID-19 rules in 2020, that meant Sean could have returned as soon as Week 4 after serving the minimum three weeks on IR.

Unfortunately, it sounds like the Cowboys will now be without two of their top-three linebackers until the middle of the season.

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Sources: #Cowboys LB Sean Lee is expected to be out six weeks after undergoing hernia surgery last week in Philadelphia with noted specialist Dr. William Meyers. Lee started the season on injured reserve and now is looking at a mid-October return.

These losses left Dallas with just Jaylon Smith, Joe Thomas, and Justin March as fully healthy linebackers on the active roster. Luke Gifford was inactive last week as he continues to get over a nagging hamstring injury from camp, but hopefully will be able to contribute in Week 2.

Given how shorthanded they were, it’s no surprise that the Cowboys made a move yesterday to add some additional LB depth.

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Cowboys elected not to promote LB Francis Bernard from practice squad, signing LB Rashad Smith off Bears’ PS instead. But they’ll be protecting Bernard for a second straight week. No other team can sign him. This was only way Dallas could have both Bernard and Smith in building.

Smith was an undrafted rookie out of Florida Atlantic University who joined the Bears immediately after the draft. He was with them through training camp but failed to make the roster.

According to NFL rules, the Cowboys had to sign Rashad to their official roster to get him off Chicago’s practice squad. They will also have the option to use Francis Bernard in the game this week if they wish; another COVID-19 provision that allows for 1-2 practice squad players to be active in games.

While some are excited to see players like Bernard and Gifford getting more playing time there’s no question that Dallas will suffer without Leighton Vander Esch or Sean Lee on the field. Depending on how the next game goes, we’ll see if the Cowboys aren’t forced to make a more significant move to help the LB group.

What do you think?

Jess Haynie

Written by Jess Haynie

Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

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  1. When it rains it pours! From a position of strength to one of weakness just like that. As it was our LBs were lost against the Rams and were unable to cover or tackle in space. Mike Nolan has his work cut out for him devising schemes to work around our weaknesses.

  2. Why didn’t he get surgery sooner. He didn’t practice all camp. Very disappointed in Lee. Inexcusable. Now we sign a loser from Bears practice squad. Stupid Stephen Jones showing his stupidity

  3. Get Clay Matthews in a hybrid role, sign a FA LB – Christian Kirksey and Joe Schobert, or trade for anothe LB. Thinking Lee’s season is over or he will get hurt again (no offense to him) and Wolf Hunter should sit for the rest of the year if necessary

  4. It is time for Lee to take up a clipboard. He is a great and very smart player when healthy but that has been all too rare an occasion. I think he would make a great coach. LVE looks like a clone if him for the right and wrong reasons.

  5. We stuck with S Lee one yr too many. To go into the season with the injury prone Lee and the fragile LVE as two of our primary LBs was shortsighted on the cowboys part. That coupled with the fact that J Smith clearly regressed last yr and looks even worse this yr. The cowboys rolled the dice when they drafted two Linebackers J Smith and LVE who had major injury concerns dating back to college. That’s coming back to bite them in the ass.

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