Shawn Lee, half of the memorable “Two Tons of Fun” defensive tackle duo on the Chargers’ 1994 AFC Championship team, died Saturday. He was 44.
Lee played six seasons in San Diego, joining the team midway through the 1992 season as a free agent. In 1993 he became a full-time starter, lining up next to Reuben Davis where the pair earned the Two Tons of Fun moniker. Lee had one of his best seasons during the team’s Super Bowl run as he logged 39 tackles and 6.5 sacks. A year later he posted a career-high eight sacks in helping the Chargers reach the playoffs for a second consecutive season.
“We were drafted together in Tampa, but we came from two very different backgrounds,” said Davis. “Shawn wasn’t the best athlete but he was always working to make himself better and he always worked harder than the rest.”
Born in Brooklyn, New York, Lee came to the NFL as a sixth-round pick by Tampa Bay in 1988. He spent two years with the Bucs (1988-89) and two with Miami (1990-91) before signing with San Diego in ’92. With a love of art and an ear for music, Lee played the trombone and performed in the orchestra at the University of North Alabama. He enjoyed visiting art galleries, collected fine art and also dabbled in the music industry, helping to produce urban contemporary, R&B and rap albums. An active community member, Lee joined with Davis to create the Two Tons of Fun/San Diego Chargers Players Community Resource Center in San Diego, where kids could go to get help with homework or participate in after-school programs.
“I think people misunderstood Shawn, but I remember he just always wanted to be happy every day. He spent his entire life trying to find that garden of joy,” said Davis. “He was a person who was quiet, easygoing, always smiling and he loved to help kids and give back to the community. Shawn was never selfish and he would never say no to anybody, even if it meant him having to give up something. He would do that if it would help someone else make their life better.”
A memorial service will be held Saturday, March 5 at the Springfield Baptist Church in Raleigh, North Carolina. A website also has been created where people can post their thoughts and memories or leave a candle in Shawn’s memory at http://shawn-lee.memory-of.com/About.aspx.