WATCH: Cowboys LB Vander Esch Shows Off One-Legged 41-Inch Vertical
FRISCO - Leighton Vander Esch is coming off a 2019 season that ended prematurely with a neck injury and then a surgery but the Dallas Cowboys' budding star at linebacker recently he's "ready to roll'' for 2020.
And even more recently ... he showed it - at least as much as he can in a gym setting.
"I feel as good now as I ever have, before I even got hurt,'' Vander Esch told "The 'Boys and Girl Podcast'' hosts Jane Slater and Bobby Belt. "I mean I'm ready to roll," he said. "I've been training full-go for a couple of months now, so it's not holding me back whatsoever. ... I'm just excited to play football at this point and get back on the field."
We can't play football just yet, of course. But we can get in the gym, as LVE just did with defensive teammates Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis.
And with Chido running the camera, Lewis first took flight ... and then the Vander Esch did the same, a 6-4, 255-pound linebacker executing a one-legged vertical leap of 41 inches.
Vander Esch has been a subject of speculation after having undergone neck surgery after missing half of the '19 season. Team owner Jerry Jones has made positive pronouncements about the the 2018 NFL Draft first-round pick who made the Pro Bowl as a rookie.
That carries weight - but so do LVE's own words. And now, so does LVE's leap.
Vander Esch clearly believes the only obstacle to his return now is the same one that is sidelining the rest of the Cowboys and the rest of the NFL. Upcoming OTAs would be a good time to at least inch toward putting his optimism to the test (not to mention getting a hands-on education on the new coaching staff's defensive installation and possibly new assignments for the linebackers). But COVID-19 restrictions have altered all of that.
"You've got to find a way,'' Vander Esch said of getting in the needed work. "You've got to prepare every single day pretty much like the season's going to be on. When it is and whenever we get the green light to go, you've got to be ready to go.''
And Leighton Vander Esch is going. Up.