Cowboys have options at middle linebacker

IRVING, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys are taking a wait-and-see approach with middle linebacker Sean Lee, down with a serious left knee injury.

The Cowboys have several potential replacements for Lee, should he miss any significant time. Sources have told ESPN Cowboys officials fear Lee could have torn his ACL, which most likely will end his season.

Fourth-round pick Anthony Hitchens is the leading candidate, at least for now, to move to the first-team at middle linebacker.

But the Cowboys could also insert second-year player DeVonte Holloman, who impressed the team last year when he was healthy, into that position.

“I think all positions have their challenges, no question about that,” coach Jason Garrett said. “There’s a mental and intellectual challenge that comes with certain positions.

Quarterback would be one of them. Center would be one of them. Mike linebacker would be one of them. But we feel good about the linebacker options that we have. We drafted Hitchens for a reason and we feel like he’s a good football player and has some position flex. We’ll see how he responds to the opportunity he gets.”

The Cowboys have other options at the position in free agency.

The team could bring Ernie Sims back. Last season, Sims played in 12 games at various linebacker spots.

Sims even started in place of Lee, who missed a game at the New York Giants in November with a hamstring injury. Sims has a close relationship with defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli from their days with the Detroit Lions.

Signing veteran free-agent middle linebackers Rocky McIntosh and Jonathan Vilma are also possibilities.