The Dallas Cowboys will be without one of their starting offensive linemen for over a month. On Friday, the NFL announced it has suspended La'el Collins for five games without pay for violating the NFL Policy on Substances of Abuse. Collins will be eligible to return to the Cowboys' active roster on Monday, Oct. 18 following the team's Week 6 contest against the New England Patriots.
This comes after the Cowboys lost the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the season opener on Thursday night. Collins made his first start since 2019, missing all of last season due to a hip injury that required surgery. He came back healthy this year but dealt with a neck injury during training camp. Prior to the 2019 season, Collins signed a five-year, $50 million extension with $35 million guaranteed.
To be honest with you, I'm just starting to feel like myself," Collins said in June, per Inside the Star. "And it feels good. I'm working overtime with treatment and physical therapy to make sure this goes right. All the hard work is definitely paying off." Collins also talked about having surgery, which ended his 2020 season. "It was tough," Collins said. "I kept going back and forth with myself. If I had to get the surgery done I was going to have to miss the season. It wasn't something I was looking forward to at all. But it was something that had to be done. Now, I feel good. And I'm ready to rock."
Collins, 28, was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Cowboys in 2015. He was projected to be drafted in the first round but teams stayed away when Louisiana State police question him in the shooting death of a pregnant woman with him he previously had a relationship despite not being a suspect. Collins worked his way up the depth chart and become of the anchors of the Cowboys' offensive line. In his NFL career, Collins has played in 62 games with 61 starts.
Collins played college football at LSU where he was selected to the All-SEC First Team and All-America Second team in 2014. He was also selected to the All-SEC Second Team in 2013 and helped the team win the SEC title in 2011.