Sometimes setbacks are the best motivator.  After a series of unfortunate events, he's got a brand new start, and one Cowboys' linebacker is about to kick some serious butt in the NFL.

Oh, I can't wait for September!  Football season is the most wonderful time of the year with the gorgeous fall weather, piles of wings and nachos on the kitchen counter every Saturday and Sunday, jersey orders arriving on the doorstep, and our favorite team going undefeated.  At least most of that can be true.

I grew up watching football with my dad, and I had serious a fascination with helmets.  There was something intriguing to me about the number of bars that went across a quarterback's face compared to the helmet of an offensive lineman, and I spent at least part of every game imagining which facemask I would pick if I played football.  And what number I would wear, and how big my shoulder pads would be.  One night as a kid, my dad and I watched Monday Night Football together and I spent the entire game sitting on the couch wearing a motorcycle helmet because I wanted to feel like I was in the game.  I was eight.  And nuts.  The football love has been going on for a long time.

Every player has a brand new start every August, and for Cowboys' linebacker Leighton Vander Esch, this is going to be an incredible year.  He has had spurts of greatness in the midst of being hampered by injuries, but this will be a breakout year.

The Cowboys drafted linebackers in the NFL Draft in April (Vander Esch's position), and in early May, the Cowboys decided not to exercise his 5th-year option for 2022.  That's kind of like dating your sig other for another year knowing there's no future and you're not going to get a big diamond ring when the time is up because they've got their eyes on someone else.  Vander Esch will play this season for the Cowboys knowing there is no guarantee about what will happen next season.  If he has an amazing year, a contract will come, and if it's not from the Cowboys it could be with the Bears or Seahawks or another team that has a need.  He will have an amazing year.

CBS Sports said analysts who have been watching Vander Esch play in minicamps say it looks like he's "on a mission," and to watch him you can "feel the energy, the intensity that he's putting into his workouts to change his body to get as strong as he could."  He has overcome injuries, he's feeling good, and he's more determined than ever.

Vander Esch said he's "always been motivated," and "controlling what I can control and the rest will take care of itself."  Watch him pile up the fumble recoveries, interceptions, sacks, and tackles this season, and probably rise up the NFL jersey sales chart in the process.

He's a beast, in the best way possible.  Fans love the wolf howl that he has done since his days growing up in Idaho, and his following will support him wherever he goes, whether it's with the Dallas Cowboys or another NFL team.  Come on September...

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LOOK: 50 images of winning moments from sports history

Sometimes images are the best way to honor the figures we've lost. When tragedy swiftly reminds us that sports are far from the most consequential thing in life, we can still look back on an athlete's winning moment that felt larger than life, remaining grateful for their sacrifice on the court and bringing joy to millions.

Read on to explore the full collection of 50 images Stacker compiled showcasing various iconic winning moments in sports history. Covering achievements from a multitude of sports, these images represent stunning personal achievements, team championships, and athletic perseverance.

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