Cowboys Sean Lee Q-+-A From California

'I think we're tempo-ing me being that it's the first time I've played football in about a year and a half coming off of surgery,' says Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee, who talks in this Q-&-A about a wide range of issues - including a suggestion of how much more important Sept. 13 is than today. ...

Dallas Cowboys linebacker Sean Lee is now a weakside guy, having removed himself from a season-long sidelining due to injury, but remains a talent-and-emotional leader of a defense that looks to make another huge improvement this year. He recently visited with "Shan + RJ'' on 105.3 The Fan to share his thoughts ... not just about the moment (like Sunday's preseason game at the Niners) but also about the future ... this regular season and maybe coaching someday, too ...

HOW'S CAMP? -- "It's been going well. Nice to be back with the guys. It's a lot better than standing on the sideline."

HOW DO YOU KEEP YOURSELF ENTERTAINED AWAY FROM THE GAME? -- "I try to stay connected to the football team as much as possible. But a lot of times when you get injured, it's easy to disconnect. So, coaches were gracious enough to have me out here in any way that I could help be part of the team still."

ARE THERE DAYS WHERE YOU DON'T THINK ABOUT FOOTBALL? -- "Especially when it's in the season, it's hard not too. Whether it's film -- I try to stay keeping it on the front of your mind and you're constantly thinking about how you can get better and what you need to work on. When it comes to game time, your subconscious starts to take over. And when you get out there and you turn the film on after the game, you kind of realize, 'I don't even remember doing that. My technique was correct on that play.' The more you think about it, the more natural I think it becomes."

ARE YOU APPROACHING THIS CAMP DIFFERENT? -- "Yeah. I think we're tempo-ing me being that it's the first time I've played football in about a year and a half coming off of surgery. And we're trying to manage the load day in and day out. I think I was able to practice for about two weeks and do really well, and they gave me a little bit of rest here. Hopefully I'll be able to get back on it and practice. I feel great though."

WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WEAKSIDE AND MIDDLE LINEBACKER? -- "Well, I think there's the mike and will are going to be similar in a lot of ways depending on the defense called and depending on the alignment. I also played the will in front with Rob Ryan and Wade when he was here. It's not exactly the same, but similar to our defense. The thing is about 70 to 80 percent of the stuff I've done is about the same. There are different coverages. There's going to be some two-deep. There's going to be some different drops. So, I think there's stuff that I'm going to have to work on. There's new situations to be comfortable with."

IS IT A SITUATION WHERE YOU CAN SEE LESS CONTACT? -- "I think if you're going to be around the football, there's going to be contact. If you're linebacking, you got to hit and you've got to come downhill. So, to me, that's not necessarily true if you're around the football. I think, for me, injury-wise, I have to play the same way. I've got to go out there and get to the football and try to make plays. And if injuries come, well, then that's out of my control. That's something that I've tried to manage. You can control what you can control off-field to try to manage injuries as much as you can. When you get on the field and you play different, you're not going to be as effective. And I can't have that."

CAN YOU FEEL THE FANS' ROOTING FOR YOU TO GET BACK? -- "Yeah. Believe me: I understand the frustration with me being injured a lot. I've had a ton of frustration. You feel when you're injured, you're letting people down. But people have supported me through this time through the injuries. And that's been a huge motivating factor for me to come back and play at a high level to hopefully help us win and continue to win and hopefully bring the fans what they deserve."

HOW DO YOU STAY POSITIVE INJURY AFTER INJURY? -- "It's hard to. Because it's one thing piling onto the next. Basically, if you focus on the negative things of the past, you're going to ruin the great opportunity that you have ahead of you. So, if I keep focusing on the injuries, which believe me, there have been tons of games that I have missed in college, in the NFL that I would have loved to have played in. But if I focus on that, the negativity is going to affect my rehab and I'm not going to come back the same and I'm not going to be able to have the great opportunity that I have ahead of me. So, that's what I focus on: being able to come back, being able to help this team, and looking forward to the future. Even though it's hard, that's what I did nonstop."

WHAT'S ROD MARINELLI LIKE? -- "Intense. Crazy. Unbelievable coach. Holds you to a standard that is extremely high, but he's also a great guy. He's a funny guy. Meetings are always a blast, but he has a standard that he's never going to back down off of. And I think he enforced that throughout our entire defense."


DO YOU HAVE ANY COACHING INTEREST? -- "I think I would like to coach. The sacrifice those guys make, the time they put in is unbelievable. The coaches' hours putting us in the right position -- it's a lot of fun, but it's definitely a tough sacrifice."

HOW EXCITED ARE YOU ABOUT THE DEFENSIVE TALENT? -- "It's fun the practice with this defense. You walk out onto this field and you see this defensive line and guys that can get back to the quarterback. And you look at the linebackers and we have a lot of depth and a lot of really good players. In the back row, a ton of talent. We just need to build that continuity and play together and continue to get better and better. And I think we can be a defense that can cause takeaways every week and get the ball back to our offense and be very effective."

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