FRISCO, TX — The news of Leighton Vander Esch being lost for the season with a neck injury suffered in Week 5 hits hard for the Dallas Cowboys, a team that entered the 2023 season with question marks surrounding the depth at the position behind Vander Esch and Damone Clark; but **Rashaan Evans intends to answer the call going forward**.
"We're gonna ball for our brother," said Evans ahead of the first practice in preparation for the Carolina Panthers. "Whenever you have a situation where you've played the game as long as I have, an injury like that hits home for me, especially when you know the kind of player he is and, also, being a competitor, you wanna be out there."
Markquese Bell has stepped into the role of linebacker following the loss of rookie fourth-round pick DeMarvion Overshown, and has played exceptional football, but Evans was added in the wake of Vander Esch being moved to injured reserve.
Evans, signed to the practice squad, has now been elevated a maximum of three times and his third was the most productive — playing 49 percent of the defensive snaps and making his presence felt early against Saquon Barkley.
In order for him to play against this regular season, he'll have to be signed to the active 53-man roster; and that means a decision has to soon be made by the Cowboys.
I'll pride myself in taking advantage of [this opportunity] to be back in the league and being back to doing the things I'm doing now. I'm just looking forward to the opportunity and I'm excited about it."
A former first-round pick himself, similar to Vander Esch, Evans knows what it feels like to perform under pressure and, hailing from Nick Saban's program, additionally understands what's required to succeed on the biggest football stages.
His number will likely be called again soon by defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, and there will be no shortage of expectations he'll be asked to meet, but it's also nothing he's shying away from.