In a move that has shocked football fans across the nation, the Dallas Cowboys have placed star linebacker Leighton Vander Esch on injured reserve due to a neck injury he sustained during Sunday’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles. The team announced the decision on Tuesday afternoon, leaving fans reeling from the unexpected news.
Vander Esch, who was drafted by the Cowboys in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft, has been a standout player for the team, earning a Pro Bowl selection in his rookie year and being named Second-Team All-Pro in 2019. His absence will undoubtedly be felt on the field, as he has been a key component of the Cowboys’ defense.
The injury occurred in the third quarter of Sunday’s game when Vander Esch collided with Eagles tight end Zach Ertz. He remained on the ground for several minutes before being helped off the field by trainers. Initial reports indicated that he had suffered a concussion, but further evaluation revealed the extent of the injury to be more severe.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones expressed his disappointment in a statement released by the team. “We’re all disappointed to lose Leighton for an extended period, but we’ll rally around him and support him through his recovery,” he said. “He’s a fighter, and we know he’ll come back stronger than ever.”
Head coach Mike McCarthy also addressed the media, stating, “Leighton is a valuable member of our team, both on and off the field. We’ll miss his presence, but we have confidence in the rest of our players to step up and fill the void.”
With Vander Esch sidelined, the Cowboys will likely turn to veteran linebacker Sean Lee to take on a larger role in the defense. Rookie linebacker Luke Gifford may also see increased playing time.
The timing of the injury could not be worse for the Cowboys, who are currently tied for first place in the NFC East with a record of 6-7. They face a crucial matchup against division rivals Washington Redskins on Sunday, with the winner taking control of the division lead.
Despite the setback, the Cowboys remain optimistic about their chances. Quarterback Dak Prescott tweeted, “We got this! Time for us to come together as a team and make a push for the playoffs!”
As for Vander Esch, he took to social media to express his gratitude for the support he has received. “Thanks for all the well wishes, guys. I’ll be back soon, better than ever. Let’s go Cowboys!”
While the road ahead looks challenging for the Cowboys, they have proven themselves to be resilient in the face of adversity. With the team rallying behind their fallen star, they look to overcome this obstacle and make a deep run into the postseason.