Dallas Cowboys’ Vander Esch: ‘I’m On A Mission’ – Sports Illustrated Dallas Cowboys News, Analysis and More

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Dallas Cowboys’ Vander Esch: ‘I’m On A Mission’ – Sports Illustrated Dallas Cowboys News, Analysis and More
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FRISCO – The frustration of promise wasted is an all-too-familiar theme in recent Dallas Cowboys lore.

And Leighton Vander Esch has now been around here long enough to become all-too-familiar with it.

“It’s the game of football, and the ones that can be resilient and they can bounce back from that and just keep continuing to grind, day after day no matter what happens, good things are going to happen eventually,” Vander Esch said in an nfl season-closing visit with the media this week.

“I’m on a mission, and I think all the guys should be, too.”

A couple of times during Vander Esch’s media session, he mentioned “all the guys,” and words along those lines. “We’ve got to have everybody pulling along,” he said at one point.

Maybe Vander Esch isn’t suggesting anything at all here. Or maybe one of the reasons for all that promise devolving into all that frustration is that this “brotherhood” doesn’t have the “culture,” the “work ethic” or the “talent” that so many here inside The Star swear they do.

For the Cowboys’ third-year linebacker, part of the frustration is injury-related. He appeared in only 10 games after missing the start of the year with a broken collarbone and then sitting out the final two weeks with an ankle sprain. This marked a repeat of 2019, when a neck injury caused the former first-round draft pick to miss seven games in 2019 with a neck injury.

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At the point Vander Esch is, athletically and physically, there isn’t much he can do to prevent fluky injuries. But …

“I’m going to train my frickin’ butt off this offseason,” he said. “I’m not really going anywhere. … I’m going to be here training all the way through February, March and April. That’s just what it is. I’m already looking forward to it.”

Vander Esch has established to the league that he has Pro Bowl-level ability. But much of what lies ahead is unpredictable.  From covid-19 to roster changes to coaching changes to the dreaded injuries and the dreaded disappointment, there are no certainties here.

“Who knows what this offseason is going to look like moving forward, being like last year, but we’ve got to get things right,” Vander Esch said. “I’m just looking forward to keep improving and keep working my hardest. … We’ve got to have everybody pulling along.”

“I know what I’ve got to do,” he added. “I’m going to set my mind towards it and I’m going to go do it.”

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