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Cowboys lose leading tackler Lee to toe injury

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Cowboys lose leading tackler Lee to toe injury

IRVING, Texas (AP) Dallas Cowboys coaches won't be talking to linebacker Sean Lee through his helmet mic anymore this season.

Instead, he might be in their ears all the time on the sideline.

Lee is out for the rest of the season with ligament damage in his right big toe, an injury that will require surgery. Coach Jason Garrett said Wednesday an MRI showed the extent of the damage and the team's leading tackler and on-the-field defensive coordinator was placed on injured reserve. He will have surgery in about a week.

Lee was injured in the second half of last weekend's 19-14 win against Carolina, and he was already donning a headset before the game ended.

``I remember seeing him on the head phones on the sidelines,'' said his replacement, Dan Connor, an offseason pickup in free agency. ``He was really coaching out there. There's no reason why he shouldn't.''

It's not the first time Lee has been sidelined by a significant injury. He missed a year with a torn knee ligament at Penn State, and he could have missed a significant stretch last year with a dislocated wrist. He ended up sitting for a game and a half before coming back and playing the rest of the season with a cast.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Lee didn't want to believe he needed season-ending surgery this time, but ultimately knew better.

``He has such an intensity about him,'' Garrett said. ``He said, `You know, I'm not getting down. I'm ready to go I'm going be part of this football team and we're going to get this thing fixed. I'll be back before you know it.'''

The Cowboys moved up in the draft to take Lee in the second round in 2010, and he was still available in part because of his history with injuries. He started 15 games last year, finishing with 105 tackles and tying for the team lead with four interceptions. He had 58 tackles in six games this year and another interception.

``I can't tell you how well he's been playing since he's been our starting inside linebacker,'' Garrett said. ``He's a bell cow for us and a guy that really everybody on our defense and football team looks up to.''

Connor will replace Lee as a starter heading into Sunday's home game against the Giants, but the Cowboys signed veteran linebacker Ernie Sims, who played 13 games last year for Indianapolis. Bruce Carter, the other Dallas starter at inside linebacker, will call most of the defensive signals.

``It's something that definitely stings when you lose your middle linebacker, but at the end of the day, they're not going to cancel or postpone the games because Sean Lee got hurt,'' defensive end Marcus Spears said. ``You don't have time to dwell on it.''

The Cowboys are fourth in the NFL in total defense and made two key stops in the fourth quarter at Carolina to help Dallas rally from a 14-13 deficit. Garrett showed faith in the defense by running on third-and-9 to set up the go-ahead field goal with still 3:25 remaining.

Garrett made that decision after the injury to Lee, who also missed two games his rookie season with a hamstring problem.

``This is not new,'' Garrett said. ``This has happened a lot. And you rally around it. Sean Lee's the kind of guy that will stay engaged in our football team, and we appreciate that about him.''

Dallas also put punter Chris Jones on injured reserve and signed safety Charlie Peprah. The Cowboys added linebacker Jerry Brown to the practice squad a week after he was let go by Indianapolis.

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Kevin Durant commits $10 million to Prince George's County public schools

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USA TODAY Sports

Kevin Durant commits $10 million to Prince George's County public schools

Kevin Durant continues to give back to the community that raised him. 

Durant, who calls Prince George's County, MD., home, recently announced a partnership with Prince George's County public schools. 

The partnership, which comes with a $10 million dollar commitment from Durant, will help fund a program called College Track. Essentially, it's a 10-year program that provides basic infrastructure — test prep, tutoring, college selection and how to get financial aid — that kids from less-advantaged families often times don’t have.

Durant's money will go towards building College Track's Maryland center. There are nine other College Tracks across California, Colorado, and Louisiana, and the program has helped over 3,000 students get to college and beyond. This Maryland center will be the first of three that are planned to go up in the DC area. 

You can read the entire article about Durant and College Track right here. 

RELATED: WHAT THE SESSIONS SIGNING MEANS FOR TOMAS SATORANSKY

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Martavis Bryant could make sense for the Redskins, at the right price

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USA TODAY Sports

Martavis Bryant could make sense for the Redskins, at the right price

A 2017 midseason trade for Martavis Bryant made no sense for the Redskins. A 2018 offseason trade for Martavis Bryant, however, might make sense for the Redskins. 

Bryant is on the trade block, per NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, and will be an intriguing prospect for receiver-needy teams across the NFL. In parts of three seasons with the Steelers, Bryant has 17 touchdowns and a 15.2 yards-per-reception average. 

A big play threat from any place on the field, Bryant would immediately make the Redskins receiving unit more athletic and explosive. 

It's not all good news with Bryant, though.

He was suspended for the entire 2016 season after repeated drug violations and caused some distraction for Pittsburgh during the 2017 season when he asked for a trade via social media. 

MORE: CAN YOU GUESS THESE REDSKINS BASED ON THEIR COMBINE NUMBERS?

Is the talent enough to overcome the off-field distractions? Many would say it is. 

Last year, in just eight starts, Bryant grabbed 50 catches for more than 600 yards and three TDs. In their lone playoff loss to the Jaguars, Bryant caught two passes for 78 yards and a TD. 

Remember, too, the Steelers have an explosive offense, and Bryant is coupled with Antonio Brown on the receiver front along with Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback and Le'Veon Bell at running back. The Pittsburgh offense is loaded. 

Washington's offense is not nearly the prolific unit that the Steelers send out, but Jay Gruden does design a good offense. 

The real question surrounding any talk of trading for Bryant is the cost.

The Redskins are not in a position to send away any more draft picks this offseason after giving up a third-round pick, in addition to Kendall Fuller, to acquire Alex Smith. Bruce Allen and the Redskins front office need to improve their team in plenty of spots, and the team's draft picks are quite valuable. 

Bryant only has one year remaining on his rookie deal, and it's hard to balance that sort of short-term investment with the value of adding a rookie committed to the team for at least four years. Perhaps a late-round pick would make sense, but it would need to be a sixth-rounder. 

This could be one of those rare situations in the NFL where a player for player swap could work, though pulling that type of maneuver requires a lot of moving parts. 

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