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Leighton Vander Esch returns to Boise for annual youth football camp

"[Idaho] is where I grew up and I was a little kid one time too. Having these camps and having these things available to kids is important," Vander Esch said.

BOISE, Idaho — The pride of Riggins back in Boise! Former Boise State and current Dallas Cowboys linebacker, Leighton Vander Esch was in town Friday to host his annual youth football camp at Bishop Kelly High School.

Vander Esch just wrapped up his fourth season in Dallas, compiling 77 total tackles - the third most on the team - while starting in 16 games.

The 26-year-old signed a one-year contract to stay with the Cowboys this offseason.

With Dallas' organized team activities (OTA's) wrapped up earlier this week, this is prime vacation time for NFL players. However, instead of vacation, the former Bronco was back here in Boise helping out the younger generation of football players.

"[Idaho] is where I grew up and I was a little kid one time too. Having these camps and having these things available to kids is important. It's the next generation they're developing," Vander Esch said. "So, when you can teach them at such a young age and if they can take in as much of that as they can - from somebody they look up to - that's so important I feel like."

The LVE 55 Football Camp began in 2019, following Vander Esch's Pro Bowl rookie campaign. The 2018 first-round pick and hometown hero said the opportunity to return to Idaho while helping the youth is "awesome."

"Being able to come back and give back to these kids, spend the day with them and just have fun, throw some footballs and work them through what I get taught every single day - just the simple fundamentals of football - it's so important," Vander Esch said. "You have to practice it at every single level, so it's awesome."

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