Cowboys’ Lee reaches deal on 6-year extension

Dallas Cowboys middle linebacker Sean Lee signed a six-year

contract extension Wednesday, a deal that goes through the 2019

season.

A story on the team’s website Wednesday night said Lee’s deal is

worth about $42 million, but could escalate as high as $51 million

depending on different incentives. The guaranteed money is around

$16 million.

”I’m extremely excited. I was blessed to be able to be drafted

by a great franchise,” Lee said in a video interview posted along

with the story. ”To have an opportunity to be here a long time and

hopefully compete for a Super Bowl is fantastic.”

Lee’s agent, Mike McCartney, posted a message on his Twitter

account congratulating the linebacker.

”Congrats to SEAN LEE for agreeing to a 6 year extension with

the (at)dallascowboys”, the agent tweeted Wednesday.

Lee is going into his fourth NFL season since being a

second-round pick from Penn State in 2010.

The high-energy linebacker is a key part for the Cowboys in

their switch to a 4-3 system under new defensive coordinator Monte

Kiffin.

Lee played only six games last season, when he had 77 tackles

before being sidelined by a torn ligament in his right big toe.

During his rookie season, Lee played 14 games behind Bradie

James and Keith Brooking.

He became a full-time starter in 2011 and led the team with 131

tackles, 52 more than any other player, despite playing the second

half of the season with a broken left wrist protected by a bulky

cast and missing a game because of the injury.

Without being specific, Lee said his new contract takes injuries

into account.

”I’ve said I need to find a way to stay on this field, and the

contract is extremely fair, where if I’m on the field the whole

year I’ll be able to get paid,” he said.

”At the same point, if I do have injuries, it protects the

Cowboys, and I think that’s fantastic, especially with the injuries

I’ve dealt with in the past.”

Lee said his goal is to be on the field every game.

He was also hampered by injuries during his rookie camp and

early in his first season, though he played 14 games without

starting.

There was also a December 2010 game at Indianapolis where Lee

intercepted Peyton Manning twice. He returned one for a touchdown

and set up a game-winning field goal in overtime with the

other.

After signing the deal Wednesday night, Lee said he was already

focused on practice the next day. The Cowboys have two preseason

games remaining, including Saturday night at home against

Cincinnati, before the Sept. 8 opener at home against the New York

Giants.

”It’s great to have it done,” he said. ”Being able to focus

on this year, focus on winning, focus on me becoming a better

football player and staying on the field, making sure I’m healthy

so I can help this team win.”

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org