Cowboys linebacker Leighton Vander Esch is out for the season following a neck injury, which could also end his career. 

According to Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, the team is taking a wait-and-see approach with Vander Esch’s recovery. 

“We had just completely left it up to how he was evolving,” Jones told The Fan in Dallas. “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 was eligible to exit injured reserve status after an October 8 injury against the 49ers. In the five games Vander Esch has played, he has 35 tackles, one tackle for loss, two quarterback pressures and a fumble recovery. 


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He has a history of neck issues, missing seven out of the final nine games due to a neck injury as a rookie season in 2018. He also was absent due to a neck injury in 2021. He also dealt with neck injuries during his time at Boise State.

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