Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones denied that the team has any interest in signing free-agent linebacker Brian Urlacher to fill the void left in the middle of their defense following Sean Lee's ACL injury last month.
According to ESPNDallas.com's Calvin Watkins, reporters asked Jones whether the team was negotiating a contract with the veteran Urlacher on Tuesday. The 71-year-old responded with a resounding "no."
Instead of discussing potential replacements, Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones preached patience, per Watkins:
"We’re working through it. I mean obviously we’re not playing football games tomorrow and we’re not going to training camp tomorrow. We’re just taking a long hard look at anything."
Lee suffered a torn ACL in his left knee during organized team activities on May 27 and has still yet to undergo surgery to repair the ligament damage. Nonetheless, Lee has been ruled out for the 2014 NFL season.
The 36-year-old Urlacher retired in May 2013 but is open to returning to the NFL if the right opportunity comes along, according to Watkins. And one Cowboys player in particular, who is a former Bear, believes Dallas would be the right fit for Urlacher, per Watkins:
Watkins highlights 2014 fourth-round draft pick Anthony Hitchens, 2013 sixth-round selection DeVonte Holloman and veteran Justin Durant as the current Cowboys most likely to take Lee's spot in the middle.
Holloman appeared in nine regular-season games last season for Dallas, recording 26 combined tackles and two sacks. Meanwhile, Durant played in 10 games for the Cowboys in 2013, tallying 24 combined tackles and one forced fumble.
With more snaps, it's possible that Durant could return to his 2012 form, when he recorded a career-high 103 tackles with the Detroit Lions.
Although Jones has slammed the door on the idea of adding Urlacher to the mix for now, his son's comments suggest that the Cowboys would be open to exploring the possibility down the road if their current backups fail to inspire confidence in the coaching staff.
Replacing Lee (294 combined tackles and 11 interceptions since 2010) will be no easy task for Dallas, and therefore it's far too early to know for sure who'll be filling Lee's massive shoes in 2014.
As of now, though, all indications are that it won't be Urlacher.
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