Cowboys LB Leighton Vander Esch out for season

October 8, 2023; Santa Clara, California, USA; Dallas Cowboys linebacker Leighton Vander Esch (55) warms up before the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Dallas Cowboys linebacker Leighton Vander Esch will miss the remainder of the season due to his neck injury, team owner Jerry Jones said Tuesday.

“We had just completely left it up to how he was evolving but of course it’s such a very significant loss for us,” Jones said on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas.

“He’s an integral part of that defense out there. We just wish him well and just 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. It has everything to do with what’s best in his interest.”

Jones, however, stopped short of addressing whether the injury will end the career of Vander Esch, who missed time while in college at Boise State in 2016 due to his neck. He sat out the final month of the 2019 season with the Cowboys when he underwent neck surgery.

A neck stinger cost Vander Esch the final three-plus games of last season, too.

The Cowboys selected Vander Esch in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft.

Vander Esch, 27, was injured during the fourth quarter of the Cowboys’ 42-10 loss to the San Francisco 49ers on Oct. 8 in Santa Clara, Calif. The injury occurred when Vander Esch collided with teammate Micah Parsons.

In five games this season, Vander Esch totaled 30 tackles and returned a fumble for a touchdown against the New England Patriots on Oct. 1.

In 71 career NFL games (65 starts), Vander Esch has 469 tackles (13 for loss), plus 3.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and three interceptions.

–Field Level Media

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