Leighton Vander Esch To Announces Retirement After Injuries

Leighton Vander Esch To Announces Retirement After Injuries



March 19th, 2024

Former Dallas Cowboys linebacker Leighton Vander Esch has hung up his cleats, announcing his retirement at the young age of 28. This difficult decision wasn't due to a lack of love for the game, but rather the cumulative effects of injuries, particularly persistent neck issues that began during his college years.

Leighton Vander Esch's NFL Career

Vander Esch's NFL career, tragically cut short by a November 2023 neck injury, spanned six illustrious seasons. Despite the challenges, he expressed immense gratitude for the opportunity to play professional football, the sport he deeply cherishes. In a heartfelt message shared through the Dallas Cowboys website, Vander Esch reflected on the cherished memories and blessings his NFL journey brought him.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones also paid tribute to Vander Esch, acknowledging not only his athletic prowess but also his strong character and leadership. Jones highlighted Vander Esch's remarkable journey, transitioning from eight-man football to becoming an NFL standout. He emphasized Vander Esch's lasting impact both on and off the field.

Drafted by the Cowboys in the 2018 NFL Draft, Vander Esch enjoyed a successful start to his career. He quickly earned recognition, achieving accolades such as a Pro Bowl selection and second-team All-Pro honors in his rookie season. However, his career trajectory was unfortunately altered by recurring neck injuries and a broken collarbone, requiring surgeries and significant time away from the game. Despite these setbacks, Vander Esch showcased remarkable resilience, consistently bouncing back with impressive performances. This included a standout 2021 season that reignited excitement for his future.

Neck Injuries Force Leighton Vander Esch To Announce His Retirement

Unfortunately, the threat of injury continued to loom large. Vander Esch's 2023 season was abruptly ended by yet another neck ailment, further fueling speculation about his future with the Cowboys. These concerns materialized when the team released him with a failed physical designation on March 15th. Just three days later, Leighton Vander Esch officially announced his retirement.

Leighton Vander Esch leaves behind a memorable legacy. He finishes his NFL career with 496 total tackles, 3.5 sacks, and three interceptions. Notably, his final full NFL game against the New England Patriots on October 1st, 2023, will be remembered for his impressive touchdown.

As Vander Esch embarks on his next chapter, the Dallas Cowboys organization expresses its sincere gratitude and well wishes to him, his wife Madalynn, and their young daughter. They acknowledge the significant impact he made on the team and the sport as a whole.

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Image credit of AP

tag: Leighton Vander Esch , Dallas Cowboys

Klei Hoxha Author

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