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Cowboys Rumors: Leighton Vander Esch to Undergo Surgery for Neck Injury

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistDecember 23, 2019

DETROIT, MI - NOVEMBER 17: Leighton Vander Esch #55 of the Dallas Cowboys makes the catch during the third quarter of the game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field on November 17, 2019 in Detroit, Michigan. Dallas defeated Detroit 35-27. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
Leon Halip/Getty Images

Dallas Cowboys linebacker Leighton Vander Esch will miss the rest of the 2019 NFL season to undergo "minimally invasive" neck surgery, according to the Dallas Morning News' Michael Gehlken.

In his second NFL season, Vander Esch has been plagued by injuries in 2019. He missed Dallas' last five contests due to a neck injury, halting what to that point had been a campaign he spent struggling to perform at his 2018 Pro Bowl level. The Boise State product compiled 72 tackles and 0.5 sacks while playing in nine games.

"People can say what they want to say," Vander Esch told reporters in November. "People have criticized me my whole entire life, so it doesn't make a difference. If they want to criticize me and make comments, [and] they don't play football and they haven't played the game of football in the NFL and on the professional level, go ahead." 

The neck injury was of particular concern because Vander Esch previously suffered a neck injury in college. 

Gehlken reported he should have the surgery in January, which will allow him to rejoin the team for training camp.