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Cowboys' La’el Collins handed five-game ban for violating NFL substance abuse policy

The Dallas Cowoys' offensive lineman La’el Collins reportedly missed five drug tests, but his agent has blasted the NFL sanction as "appalling".

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Cowboys' La’el Collins handed five-game ban for violating NFL substance abuse policy
Wesley Hitt Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys have suffered a major setback with news that offensive lineman La’el Collins has been suspended for five games for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.

Collins' suspension is the result of not showing up for drug tests, according to NFL Network Insider’s Ian Rapoport.

Collins was a doubt for the Cowboys’ season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers due to neck discomfort, but in the end he managed to play and did a good job protecting quarterback Dak Prescott. Although Dallas went on to lose the game 29-31 to Tom Brady’s Buccaneers at the Raymond James stadium.

With the loss of Collins, the Cowboys will not have all five of their starting offensive linemen available for the first six games of the NFL season.

Ty Nsehke, Terence Steele in line to replace Collins

The NFL sanction will see the LSU graduate miss the next five upcoming games against the Los Angeles Chargers, Philadelphia Eagles, Carolina Panthers, New York Giants, and New England Patriots. He will be eligible to return to the field from 18 October, ahead of Dallas’s clash with the Minnesota Vikings on 31 October.

The game against Tampa Bay was Collins' first since 2019 as he was ruled out of the entire 2020 season due to a hip surgery. In his absence, Mike McCarty will have Ty Nsehke and Terence Steele as the available candidates to replace Collins.

"We've got a lot of experience last year of moving people around, but we'd like to keep moving forward with the guys who have been working at right tackle," McCarthy said. "Obviously [Collins], Ty and Terence have taken the reps there. ... We're eyes wide open. You have to be because things happen. We want to be able to have as many combinations as possible."

Collins’ agent blasts NFL decision

Collins’ agent Peter Schaffer has come out in the player’s defense, blasting the NFL for their handling of the matter.

"We are extremely disappointed in how the NFL has handled this entire matter from trampling on Mr. Collins' rights to prematurely releasing the information knowing a timely appeal was filed to intentionally misleading the court at the hearing," Schaffer said, via Sports Illustrated. "The extent and effort the NFL went to accomplish its ends is appalling."

ESPN reports that Collins’ representatives are appealing his suspension, arguing that the sanction for this type offense should be limited to a fine and not a five-match ban.

Having signed as an undrafted free agent in 2015, this is Collins’ sixth season with the Cowboys.