Lee: Tate's celebration on illegal hit 'classless'
DALLAS – Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee, the NFL's leading tackler, has built a reputation as a budding star who performs with a high motor, at a high level and with a high regard for doing things the right way.
And now Lee's speaking out on an opponent who victimized him in the lowest way and in the wrong way.
"I understand being excited, but I thought it was a little bit classless," tells Dallas radio station 105.3 The Fan of Tate's post-hit celebration, which occurred while doctors were tending to Lee and included Tate pointing at the name on the back of his jersey and crawling across the field on all fours.
Sources say the vicious and illegal crackback block administered to Lee by Seahawks receiver Golden Tate in Sunday's 27-2 loss at Seattle will result in a $21,000 fine to Tate. Tate celebrated his hit on the field and continues to talk trash directed at his blind-sided victim.
""He has his own opinion of what he thinks,” Tate said of Lee on Monday. "I'd be upset if I was on that highlight, being crushed."
The play occurred when Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson ran from the pocket with Lee in pursuit. Tate peeled back and launched his head into Lee, striking him near the neck and head – a violation of a newly installed rule defining a person in Lee's position as "defenseless."
"I never had a problem with the hit," said Lee, adding that there's no "vendetta" feeling harbored by him towards Tate. "It's part of football. It happens. … I think he was trying to make a play for his team. But … I thought it was a little bit excessive, celebrating as he did."
Lee returned to the field a few plays later after passing concussion testing and will lead the Dallas defense this Sunday at Tampa Bay visits Cowboys Stadium. And he'll do so with his body parts and his sense of humor intact.
"I was lucky to come out of that hit," Lee said before referencing his view of himself on film during the block. "My hang time was pretty unbelievable. It looked like I was doing a high jump over a high bar."