La’el Collins glad NFL made exception so he could attend symposium

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The NFL typically reserves the rookie symposium for players who were actually drafted.

But since Cowboys offensive lineman La’el Collins is kind of an exception anyway, they let him in.

Collins told Gil Brandt and Alex Marvez on SiriusXM NFL Radio that he was grateful to be included in the program.

“My agent and [the Cowboys’] PR guys did a great job of communicating with the league and giving me the opportunity to be here,” Collins said. “They accepted me with open arms. I’m excited to be here. It’s been a great experience.”

Collins would have certainly been a first-rounder if his name hadn’t come up in a murder investigation of a former girlfriend in Baton Rouge, La. But even though he’s never been listed as a suspect, no team was willing to take the potential P.R. hit to use a draft pick on him. Assuming there’s nothing untoward, the Cowboys could benefit, getting a top talent at reduced rates.

And now Collins gets to hear the same message he’d have likely heard anyway, without the incident just before the draft.

“A lot of things about choices — the choices you make and dealing with the consequences — are the biggest things,” Collins said of the symposium. “We all make choices in life. Whether they’re good or bad, you have to be ready for the consequences.”

“You could tell he’s soaking it all in,” Cowboys first-rounder Byron Jones said of his teammate. “We have a chance to ask questions or talk, he’s the first one to raise his hand. It’s awesome to see him here so he has the opportunity to absorb what we have.”

Of course, all rookies, drafted or otherwise, would certainly benefit from the program. But the league’s not going to buy enough hotel rooms for all the undrafteds to show up, which is why one of the top players like Collins had to get special permission.

8 responses to “La’el Collins glad NFL made exception so he could attend symposium

  1. I know that the Cowboys are famous for taking guys with questionable character, but I don’t think Collins fits that mold. What happened to him could have happened to Peyton Manning. The problem is that most NFL teams are running scared. There used to be mainstream journalism and tabloid journalism. Now they’re the same. Everybody is afraid of the media, except Jerry Jones.

  2. This kid may have gotten a raw deal, but he also didn’t help his own cause by going on the run after the incident and then setting conditions on what he’d do if he wasn’t drafted by a certain round. I don’t have any love for the Cowboys, but if Collins is indeed innocent and he turns into a player for them, more power to them for giving him a chance.

  3. I hate what happened to this kid. And I hate that the Cowboys got to take advantage of it more. But I guess at least he got to chose his team. It’s a small consolation after getting screwed.

  4. Don’t like this at all. Not that they included Collins in the Symposium, but that it required a special exception, and that other UDFAs are not allowed to attend as well.

    The symposium is for the benefit of all young players, and the programs the teams offer are not sufficient to accomplish what the week-long event does for these draft picks. I think it is even more important for the undrafted guys, because many of them are not going to be on teams come the end of August, so understanding what they can do for themselves in the long term is valuable information, and can help these kids keep their life on a successful track.

    If I were an undrafted player, I would be filing a complaint with the NFLPA about being excluded from the event when they allowed another UDFA to attend.

    The NFL will either have to add another event, or expand it to include the undrafted rookie free agents that are on 90 man rosters for next year.

  5. Still can’t believe nobody used a late round pick on Collins, saying as they made it that his being on the team was contingent on being cleared. I can’t think of too many fans who would complain about that.

  6. I still think he could have helped himself in that situation by immediately returning home to speak with the police when they wanted to contact him. By deciding to wait for so long, coupled with being hard to contact, he made the mess worse.

  7. sgcrys says:
    Jun 26, 2015 11:11 AM

    I still think he could have helped himself in that situation by immediately returning home to speak with the police when they wanted to contact him.


    Do you realize you are saying he should have done exactly what he did? He left Chicago for Louisiana the next day.

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