It was bad enough that the Dallas Cowboys suffered a tough two-point loss in the season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers but they also lost an important part of their offensive line. La'el Collins, the Cowboys starting right tackle, was suspended for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy.
The agent of Collins, Peter Schaffer, expressed his displeasure with the way the league handled the situation a few weeks ago, claiming that the appeal process wasn't final and that the suspension shouldn't have been disclosed. However, a bombshell in this particular matter was announced on Sunday morning. According to ESPN's Adam Schefter, Collins attempted to bribe a drug test collector.
The original suspension for Collins was for five games but the NFLPA got it reduced to two games. However, Collins appealed the suspension with an arbitrator appointed by the league and the player's association, and not only did it get denied, but it was determined that the original five-game punishment be put back in place due to the evidence.
Collins's suspension didn't come from failing a drug test but rather to missing them. The seven-year veteran believed he had legitimate reasons to miss seven tests. One was because a test was scheduled for the day strength and conditioning coach Mark Paul collapsed and eventually died back in November. Another was due to attending the funeral of his uncle.
If his suspension is not reduced he will be eligible to return to the roster on October 18, the day after the Cowboys play the New England Patriots. The suspension will cost Collins $2 million per the CBA which also voids the injury guarantee of $6.48 million in his 2022 salary.
In his absence, backup tackle Terence Steele was excellent against the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 2 as elite pass rusher Joey Bosa didn't record a sack, a pressure, or a tackle for loss in the Cowboys 20-17 win.
Steele will need to continue his high-level play for the next month while Collins is out. A weird situation just became more clear now that the specific details have come to light.