NFL Rumors: Cowboys Considering Brian Urlacher, Jonathan Vilma To Replace Sean Lee

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Brian Urlacher

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

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.

Two names that have surfaced in the team’s attempt to find a replacement include Brian Urlacher and Jonathan Vilma, ESPN’s Ed Werder reported.

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.

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.

Sam Spiegelman is a native New Yorker covering sports in New Orleans. He likes Game of Thrones way too much. Tweet him @samspiegs.