Cowboys lineman La’el Collins sues NFL over 5-game suspension

Local Sports

Dallas Cowboys offensive tackle La’el Collins (71) participates in a NFL football work out at the team’s practice facility in Frisco, Texas, Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)

FRISCO, Texas (KETK) – Dallas Cowboys offensive lineman La’el Collins has sued the NFL and Commissioner Rodger Goodell and is seeking an injunction to halt his five-game suspension over substance abuse violations.

Collins has already served three games for the suspension and filed his lawsuit in Collin County, which encompasses Frisco, the location of the Cowboys’ headquarters.

It claims that Collins missed drug tests when the labor agreement reached in 2020 no longer allowed suspensions over missed tests or positive tests for marijuana. According to an AP report, the NFL called the suit “meritless.”

“This suit is meritless as already determined by two jointly appointed NFL-NFLPA impartial arbitrators who have reviewed this. We will seek to have this case dismissed as soon as possible.”

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy

Collins’ suspension was announced the day after Dallas’ 31-29 loss to defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay in the opener. The remaining two games of the suspension are Sunday at home against the New York Giants and Oct. 17 at New England.

The lawsuit says the NFL misled an arbitrator by saying Collins had previously been suspended four games when he hadn’t. The NFL eventually decided to fine rather than suspend Collins over missed tests in early 2020.

In November 2020, the league was prepared to suspend Collins fives games over missed drug tests. The union negotiated a reduction to two games, but an appeal led to an arbitrator reinstating the five-game ban.

Collins’ representatives said the league announced the suspension with another appeal pending. The lawsuit claimed the announcement violated the confidentiality clause in the agreement between the league and the union over substance-abuse policies.

“To Mr. Collins, this case presents the difference between a career in the NFL and a potential career-ruining suspension,” the lawsuit said. “The harm to him could not be clearer.”

Collins signed with the Cowboys as an undrafted free agent in 2015. The former LSU player was expected to be a high draft pick, but his name surfaced in the investigation of a woman’s death just before the draft.

The 28-year-old Collins is on his third contract, the most recent a $50 million, five-year extension signed in 2019.

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