The Dallas Cowboys linebacker is not only missing the season, but could also end his career with a neck injury
Some concerning and sad news hit the Dallas Cowboys fans this Tuesday. More than that, this is also very concerning to the player himself. LB Leighton Vander Esch is out for the season with a neck injury. But more than that, he could also have to end his career because of that. At least that’s what Jerry Jones, Cowboys owner and general manager, said on 105.3 The Fan.
“I would say that’s accurate,” Jones said. “We had just completely left it up to how he was evolving. But of course, it’s a very significant loss for us. He’s an integral part of that defense out there. We just wish him well. The nature of his potential injury here causes me to really think longer term and beyond what it means for next week or beyond what it means for next month relative to the team. It has everything to do with what’s in his best interest.”
Vander Esch, 27, was eligible to come off injured reserve this week. He was hurt on Oct. 8 against the 49ers, but he still has lingering symptoms from that game. The player suffered a neck injury in 2019 and was diagnosed with a condition called cervical spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal column in the neck.
He underwent surgery in early 2020. The linebacker has played in 45 games since surgery, and he re-signed with the Cowboys on a two-year contract this offseason. However, there is always a possibility of a new injury.
“There are a lot of factors involved,” Jones said of Vander Esch’s future. “But he just really needs to see how this continues to heal, and then go from that point as to whether or not he would want to continue to say, expose himself to injury.”
Leighton Vander Esch
The linebacker entered the NFL in 2018. He was the No. 19 overall pick in that draft, selected by the Dallas Cowboys, out of Boise State. Vander Esch rapidly rose as one of the best LBs in the league, but also suffered with injuries throughout his career.
So far in his career (and maybe his final career numbers), he played 72 games. In this time he recorded 469 tackles, 3.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, one recovered fumble and three interceptions. He scored his only career touchdown earlier this season.