Dallas Cowboys

Why the Wolf Hunter’s howl gave Ezekiel Elliott chills

The ‘Wolf Howl’ is now a thing.

Dallas Cowboys’ rookie linebacker Leighton Vander Esch, who has the nickname Wolf Hunter because he’s an avid hunter of wolves in his home state of Idaho, debuted the wolf howl celebration during the Cowboys’ 13-10 win over the New Orleans Saints.

Vander said he was inspired by the wolf howls being played by the AT&T Stadium public address system after he made a big play.

“I just kind of rolled with it and went with it,” Vander Esch said.

Cowboys LB Leighton Vander Esch harvested two Alaskan gray wolves on hunting trip in March 2017. Courtesy of Vander Esch family

Plus, Vander Esch said, his teammates were egging him on to come up with something. Fellow linebacker Jaylon Smith has the ‘The Swipe’ and defensive lineman Taco Charlton makes and serves tacos.

“They’ve been teasing me about it, saying I don’t really have an organized celebration and I needed to get one going,” said Vander Esch, who leads the Cowboys with 87 tackles. He had a team-high 10 stops in Thursday’s win.


Vander Esch’s celebration was a big hit with his teammates.

“I got so hyped when Leighton got the tackle and he did the wolf howl,” Ezekiel Elliott said. “It gave me chills, man. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up.”

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