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Dallas Cowboys star Leighton Vander Esch retires from NFL aged 28 due to neck injury

Mar 19, 2024
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Due to a neck injury, Dallas Cowboys linebacker Leighton Vander Esch has been forced to retire from the NFL.

He was drafted by the Cowboys in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft as the 19th overall pick.

Vander Esch shared his retirement announcement on Instagram, expressing mixed emotions.

In his Instagram post, Vander Esch wrote about the significance of playing for the Cowboys organization and thanked key figures like the Jones Family, Coach Jason Garrett, Mike McCarthy, Rod Marinelli, Kris Richard, Dan Quinn, Ben Bloom, George Edwards, AD, and Scotty McCurley for their support and mentorship throughout his career.

He reflected on his journey since being drafted and highlighted the honor of representing his family, teammates, and the Dallas community.

Following Vander Esch’s announcement, Jerry Jones, the Cowboys’ owner, expressed gratitude for Vander Esch’s dedication over the six seasons he played for the team.

Jones praised Vander Esch’s passion, leadership, and impact on the team, emphasizing his unique journey from eight-man football to excelling at the collegiate and professional levels.

Despite some fans attributing Vander Esch’s retirement to a hit by San Francisco 49ers offensive tackle Trent Williams during a game last season, Vander Esch had been managing neck issues since college, with a resurgence of problems in 2019 leading to missed games.

Jones conveyed optimism about Vander Esch’s future endeavors beyond football.

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