The injury to middle linebacker Sean Lee has left a gaping hole in the middle of the Dallas Cowboys defense, and the team is considering all of its options to find a replacement.
Cowboys evaluating all options for replacing LB Sean Lee, including vets like Brian Urlacher and Jon Vilma. Will likely be 2-player platoon
— Ed Werder (@Edwerderespn) June 2, 2014
Urlacher, 36, spent last year in the broadcast booth instead of on the football field. At this time last year, Urlacher retired from the NFL after 13 seasons manning the middle of the Chicago Bears’ defense.
It’s unknown whether Urlacher has an interest in returning to football and leaving his comfortable seat with FOX, or if he’s in game shape. One positive about Urlacher is that he’s seasoned in defensive coordinator’s Rod Marinelli’s scheme.
Vilma, 32, missed the 2013 season due to a lingering knee injury. The New Orleans Saints let the veteran backer walk in free agency, but last week, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported that Vilma is now “healthy and ready” to return to action.
If Dallas is in market for a LB, one who is recovered from knee issues is former Saint Jonathan Vilma. Now said to be healthy and ready.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) May 27, 2014
Vilma reached out to the Miami Dolphins, his hometown team, but they showed no interest, according to the Miami Herald. The Dolphins also passed on two other former Hurricanes — Jon Beason and Darryl Sharpton — in free agency over the offseason. Vilma has received little to no interest on the open market.
When Lee tore his ACL during Cowboys OTAs last week, it was presumed Anthony Hitchens, a fourth-round draft pick out of Iowa, would have the first crack at earning the starting job. But Werder is suggesting the team wants a two-player platoon at middle linebacker.
Based on age, it seems like Vilma is the more probable fit. He’s younger and has shown an interest in playing this season.