La’el Collins’s five-game suspension was something the Cowboys were able to cope with. However, what happened ended up affecting the offensive lineman’s starting status, also opening up a new role for at least this week. However, Collins does not regret what happened.
This Friday, Collins spoke to the media for the first time since his suspension ended for violating NFL protocols on the use of prohibited substances. Event, remember, that was disputed by the offensive lineman considering it as injustice on the part of the league.
“The big picture was that I didn’t feel like I had done something wrong.”Collins said in a statement to the media. “I missed some evidence here and there, but with everything that came with it, I felt like it wasn’t fair. I felt like I had a good case. But things didn’t flow that way. At the end of the day, I fought for what I believed in, and the pieces fell where they fell.
La’el Collins on why he fought his suspension after it was reduced from 5 to 2 games.
“The bigger picture was, I didn’t feel like I did anything wrong,” he said. “I missed a few tests here & there, but to everything that came along w/ that, I just felt like it wasn’t fair.”
— David Moore (@DavidMooreDMN) October 29, 2021
Recall that Collins’ allegations regarding his suspension date back to earlier this year. The original penalty for the Dallas offensive lineman was five games, and it was reduced to two. This reduction, in fact, was achieved through the NFL Players Association (NFLPA).
However, Collins continued to contest the suspension even after its reduction. This, in large part, on the grounds that he never tested positive. While it is true that the tackle missed several drug tests, these absences were justified. One, by being absent with permission from the team to attend the funeral of a relative in another state. And the other, when the team was sent home after the collapse (and subsequent death) of coach Markus Paul in November 2020.
However, the referee in the case ruled against the player and carried the suspension back to five games. This, on the one hand, because the league’s substance abuse policies allow players to be punished for not cooperating with drug tests. And, on the other hand, due to La’el Collins’s alleged attempt to bribe the evidence collector.
However, the Dallas offensive lineman insists the alleged bribery attempt never occurred.
“All I will say about that is that I have no reason to bribe a drug test collector.”Collins said Friday. “I have never had them and never will have them. It was nothing of the sort. It started as a joke with some of the guys and went the wrong way. Like I said, there was nothing in my system that would have led me to avoid testing. I knew it would be analyzed at random. They did a lot of tests, more than 10 times a month in some cases. There was no way to avoid that and there isn’t. “.
La’el Collins on his 5-game suspension and him being accused of bribing the drug test collector: “I have no reason to bribe a drug test collector. It started out as a joke with a few guys and went the wrong way. … I was being tested a lot. Ten-plus times a month sometimes.”
– Jon Machota (jonmachota) October 29, 2021
The announcement of the suspension last September did not stop La’el Collins from trying to fight what he saw as an injustice. Earlier this month, Collins’ representative sued the NFL in court in Texas. This with the intention of trying to reduce or cancel its suspension. However, and although the judge who took the case agreed with the player, he could not annul the decision of the league referee.
Now, after his suspension, La’el Collins found a new panorama when he returned to the team. The coaching staff decided that Terence Steele, who held the left tackle position during Collins’ absence, would start this week against the Vikings. As for Collins, it was decided that he would train at the tackle and guard positions. In the latter, in fact, he has not played since 2016.
Collins accepts his current role on the team
This change in Collins’ role is mainly due to two reasons. One would be not wanting to alter the dynamics of the offensive line after Dallas’ five-game winning streak. And the second would be to take advantage of the experience of the lineman in the guard position. In this way, Collins appears as a backup for Terence Steele and Connor Williams at the right tackle and left guard positions respectively.
Of course, going from starter to backup player is something many players take the wrong way. And even less after an unfair incident, as La’el Collins describes it. However, this does not appear to be the case for the Dallas offensive lineman.
“I am a team player”Collins told reporters. “In a way, I felt like I did everything I could to avoid suspension. That was my intention in fighting her. Sometimes things just don’t go your way. But you can’t control that. What I did in the meantime was train, focus on my craft and help the boys as I could and when I could “.
In his remarks, the offensive lineman highlighted the work done by Terence Steele, who has improved a lot in his second year as a professional. Besides, he has no regrets about fighting the suspension, and is now focused on working for the good of the team.
“My mentality has always been the same”Collins said. “I am not necessarily thinking of competing for ownership. I know I am a starter anywhere. The most important thing is to support my teammates and the boys in the locker room who have been in the games that I had to watch from my home. I just wanted to come back here and show that everything was behind us. I can focus on helping the team win and do what they ask of me. “
La’el Collins understands why he’s returned as a backup, praises Terence Steele’s performance at RT & doesn’t feel this is retribution for his suspension.
Regrets on fighting suspension?
“No regrets at all, none at all,” he said. “I did what I felt was right.”
— David Moore (@DavidMooreDMN) October 29, 2021
Now, with Collins’ new role on the team, someone who would have his starting position at risk is left guard Connor Williams. It’s no coincidence that the coaching staff wants to dust Collins off at the position after Williams’ performance problems. Remember that the guard committed several fouls in the game against the Patriots, and is second in the NFL in that section after accumulating nine so far.
For now, La’el Collins is almost certain to be on the bench this Sunday against the Vikings. What remains to be seen is what his role will be in subsequent encounters. This, of course, will depend on the performance of Terence Steele and Connor Williams this Sunday. Either way, the Cowboys count on Collins as a surety endorsement, and as one more player who is willing to work for the good of the team.