NFL Suspends Cowboys RT La’el Collins

Sep. 12: Collins is still fighting his suspension and is hopeful that the ban will be lifted or reduced, as Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports writes. Per La Canfora, Collins has been drug tested about 10 times per months for the last 18 months, and he did not test positive between October 21, 2020 and August 11, 2021.

However, as previous reports indicated, Collins’ suspension stems from missed tests, not positive test results. La Canfora says Collins has failed to appear for testing seven times, but Collins and his agent argue that there are good explanations for those missed tests. For instance, some of the testing dates were on days that the Cowboys sent players home due to a COVID-related issue.

At this point, Dallas can only hope that Collins and his reps will be able to convince the league to change its mind.

Sep. 10: A day after he returned for his first game since the 2019 season, La’el Collins received word he will be sidelined for a while. The NFL handed the longtime Cowboys right tackle a five-game suspension Friday, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.

Collins came back from a preseason neck injury to start against the Buccaneers, marking his return after a hip injury sidelined him throughout the 2020 season. But the seventh-year veteran will now be sidelined until Week 8, with Dallas’ bye coming in Week 7. Collins violated the NFL’s substance-abuse policy, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets.

A missed drug test, or multiple missed tests, resulted in the ban, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. This Friday announcement has irked Collins’ reps, who believed the appeal process had not yet concluded, Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk tweets. However, the NFL and the Cowboys announcing the ban will result in Collins missing nearly a third of the season. Collins’ team continues its appeal effort, ESPN.com’s Ed Werder notes (on Twitter), though it does not appear it will succeed.

This will be familiar territory for the Cowboys, who needed to use backup tackles for most of last season. UDFAs manned Dallas’ O-line edges for much of the 2020 slate, with Tyron Smith also missing 14 games due to injury. Both Smith and Collins were back at their posts Thursday night, and the Cowboys’ passing attack reignited with the outside blockers and Dak Prescott on the field again. The team will need to adjust, however.

Dallas added veteran swing tackle Ty Nsekhe this offseason and still rosters primary 2020 right tackle starter Terence Steele. Fellow 2020 emergency starter Brandon Knight is on Dallas’ reserve/COVID-19 list, joining All-Pro guard Zack Martin.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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