His football spirit was willing, but after years of smashmouth football, Boise State great and Dallas Cowboy Leighton Vander Esch has announced his retirement from the National Football League. The young linebacker burst on the scene during his playing days at Boise State to become a first-round draft pick for America's team, the Dallas Cowboys. 

The former Bronco was part of the 'Dallas Broncos' which comprised several Boise State players who were either drafted or joined the Cowboys. Boise State's players represented themselves well during their time in Dallas. 


Although only twenty-eight, the linebacker's body couldn't take the beating that athletes and NFL players endure. The following is a statement he released through the team, which was picked up by the Dallas Morning News.

"I realize that I am no longer able to adhere to the unwavering standard of excellence that professional football demands. I say this with a heavy heart: I am medically retiring from the NFL. I love the game of football so much, and my body won't cooperate any longer."

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Mr. Leighton Vander Esch credited his loving family, the team, his agent, Boise State coaches Harsin and Avalos, and many others, including the Cowboys security team. He joined Boise State as a walk-on from Riggins, Idaho, and left as a first-round draft pick.

The owner of the Dallas Cowboys, Jerry Jones, expressed his praise for the former Bronco.

Jerry Jones
YouTube/ ESPN

"Seldom do you come across a player like Leighton, who grew up playing eight-man football only to first play the 11-man game at the major collegiate level and excel," said Jones. "His passion and love for the game was contagious, and from the moment he arrived, he has been a difference maker. His grit, toughness, motivation, determination and football IQ will be sorely missed. Leighton also embodied the strong character and personal qualities that make him much more than an accomplished player.

Could we see Mr. Vander Esch back in Boise? Perhaps he could be coaching high school football like several former Broncos? Only time will tell; congrats on a great, inspiring career. 

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