Leighton Vander Esch rips fans on social media after Dallas Cowboys release Jaylon Smith


Dallas Cowboys linebacker Leighton Vander Esch lashed out at fans on social media who have taken delight in Jaylon Smith’s release.

Vander Esch found out the same way most everybody else found out about Smith being released by the Dallas Cowboys: on social media and from a deluge of “random texts” friends and family sent him, he said.

“What bugs me most about it is when people [who] are on the outside, fans or whoever it might be, they want to say, ‘oh, someone deserves this or someone deserves that,’” Vander Esch said after Wednesday’s practice at The Star. “They don’t realize that this is literally, like, our livelihoods. We literally could get up and [be] traded the next morning. We literally could be in 50 freakin’ different states. So people need to realize what they’re saying is literally just like nonsense. And I think that’s a big problem in the world today. And they need to cut that out.”

Vander Esch said he didn’t see the move coming. He has yet to talk to Smith but plans to soon.

“I know he’s getting bombarded with a bunch of questions and a bunch of people texting him,” he said. “So I’m letting it die down. I want to hit him up and talk to him personally on the phone a little bit later. It’s a tough situation for him. Nobody wishes that on anybody.”

Smith told Cowboys’ defensive coordinator Dan Quinn a message he wanted Quinn to pass along to his former teammates. Basically, Smith wanted them to know that he has their backs. He told Quinn to tell the defense that “we have something special going here and he wants us to go get it all,” Vander Esch said.

“It just shows you the character and type of person that he is,” he said

Vander Esch said he is annoyed about some fans scrutinizing player performance with unabashed hyperbole and often over-the-line hatred. He understands it’s part of the business of being a professional athlete, but it makes it no less annoying.

“We don’t go talking about someone else’s job, so why are they talking about our jobs,” Vander Esch asked. “It’s super frustrating. It’s annoying. I think it’s classless. I’ve got a lot of strong words for it.”

But it’s the nature of the business, and Vander Esch, who is in his fourth year in the league, still appeared somewhat surprised at the bottom-line nature of such cut-throat moves. Or at least the nature of some of the fanbase.

“I know a lot of guys around the league deal with it. We’ve got families who might be in one area. You’ve got dudes that have been playing for a team for eight years. They get traded, they’ve got family, they’ve got kids that have been there for that long,” he said. “Think about that before you say something like ‘this guy deserves that or this guy deserves that.’”

He continued: “… we’re not in your business about how much you guys are getting paid, or what your boss is saying or this and that about anyone else’s job,” he said. “We’re not doing that. This is our livelihood. We could get traded, we could get cut tomorrow. So people need to realize what they’re saying on social media because I think it’s ridiculous.”

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