Dallas Cowboys linebacker Leighton Vander Esch will be sidelined for the remainder of the season due to a neck injury, as confirmed by team owner Jerry Jones. Unfortunately, this injury has raised concerns about Vander Esch’s football career beyond this season.
The neck injury first occurred during the Cowboys’ Week 5 matchup against the 49ers, and its lingering effects led to this decision. Jones expressed the team’s reliance on monitoring Vander Esch’s recovery, emphasizing his significance to the defense and acknowledging the broader implications for his well-being.
Regrettably, neck injuries are not unfamiliar territory for Vander Esch. His history includes a fusion procedure in 2019, following a neck injury that forced him to miss the final nine games of the season. Throughout his career, Vander Esch has dealt with other substantial injuries, such as collarbone and ankle issues. Despite his injury-prone past, the Cowboys selected him in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft.
When healthy, Vander Esch has been a linchpin in the Cowboys’ defense, earning a Pro Bowl nod in his rookie season. His absence will undoubtedly be felt, prompting Dallas to deploy various defensive schemes featuring players like Markquese Bell and recently acquired veteran Rashad Evans. Additionally, rising star linebacker Micah Parsons has adjusted his role to compensate for Vander Esch’s absence, showcasing the team’s adaptability in the face of adversity.