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Dallas Cowboys linebacker Leighton Vander Esch will miss the remainder of the season with a neck injury.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones confirmed that Vander Esch, who has not played for Dallas since Week 6, will not return this season during an appearance on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas on Tuesday.
“We had completely given free rein to his evolution,” Jones said. “But of course, it’s a very significant loss for us. He’s an integral part of this defense. We just wish him well.”
Vander Esch injured his neck on October 15 when San Francisco offensive lineman Trent Williams pushed Vander Esch head-first into teammate Micah Parsons during the Cowboys’ 42–10 loss to the 49ers. He was placed on injured reserve the next day and eligible to return in Week 11, but Jones said he would not return to the field this season.
In five games (all starts) played this season, Vander Esch recorded 30 total tackles and a fumble recovery touchdown, the first of his NFL career in the Cowboys’ Week 4 win over the NFL Patriots. New England.
Vander Esch’s career was marred by a series of neck injuries.
His sophomore campaign was limited to just nine games (all starts) after undergoing surgery to treat a nerve issue in his neck in 2019. He had surgery again the following season after breaking his collarbone in the first game of the Cowboys’ season and missing the final. four games last season with a stinger in his neck.
Jones said Vander Esch’s history of neck injuries is concerning and leaves many, including Jones himself, wondering if Vander Esch will ever play again.
“The nature of his potential injury here makes me really think longer term and beyond what it means for next week or beyond what it means for next month in relation to the team . It has everything to do with what’s in his best interest,” Jones said. said. “He just really needs to see how it continues to heal, and then figure out whether or not he would want to continue to say, expose himself to injury.”
Vander Esch was selected out of Boise State by the Cowboys with the 19th overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. In 71 career games (65 starts), Vander Esch has recorded 469 total tackles, 13 passes defensed, 13 tackles for loss, five quarterback hits, 3.5 sacks and three interceptions.