Cowboys offensive lineman La’el Collins fought his NFL suspension for violating the league’s substance policy. He lost $2 million, five games and his starting job.
Collins, though, has no regrets about his appeal or his lawsuit after an arbitrator and a judge sided with the NFL.
“I felt like I had to, just because it was kind of unfair, being a guy that didn’t fail any drug tests last year,” Collins said, via Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “The bigger picture was, I didn’t feel like I did anything wrong. I missed a few tests here and there, but to everything that came along with that, I just felt like it wasn’t fair. But it is what it is now. I felt like I had a good case. But it didn’t shake out that way. At the end of the day, I fought for what I believed in and the pieces fell where they fell. But just looking forward to getting back and playing football and being a good teammate and helping the guys wherever I can.”
Collins has started 62 of the 63 games he has played. He will not start Sunday.
Terence Steele started at right tackle the five games Collins missed, and Steele will start again against the Vikings. Collins has played only one game in two seasons and missed five weeks of practice after missing much of training camp.
Collins worked at right tackle and left guard during practice this week. The first 14 starts of his career came at left guard before he moved to right tackle in 2017.
“I’m a team player. I’m all about the team,” Collins said. “In a way, I felt like I did everything I could to avoid any suspension or anything. That was my whole intention on fighting it. Sometimes things just don’t work out the way you want them to, but you can’t control that. What I did in the meantime was work out, focus on my craft and help the guys how I could and when I could. I’m proud of them. I’m proud of the way Terence is playing. He’s playing his ass off. He shows up to work like a pro every day.”