Dallas Cowboys offensive lineman La’el Collins allegedly tried to bribe an NFL drug tester, ESPN reported Saturday.
Collins, the Cowboys’ starting right tackle, had been suspended for five games for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy, but that the NFL Players’ Association (NFLPA) had successfully negotiated the suspension down to two games, according to the ESPN. But Collins appealed the suspension, which led an arbitrator jointly appointed by the league and the NFLPA to not only reject the appeal, but reinstate the original suspension based on evidence. (RELATED: Justin Fields, Andy Dalton And Nick Foles Are All Under Consideration To Start For The Bears)
Players cannot be suspended for missed drug tests according to the NFLPA’s protocols for substance abuse. The maximum penalty for failure to appear for drug testing is a fine worth 4 weeks’ salary. But Collins had missed seven drug tests and tried to bribe the test collector, which put him in the category of “Failure to Cooperate with Testing or Clinical Care,” according to ESPN. Punishments for those violations range from the forfeiture of one weeks’ salary, up to a full year’s suspension.
Collins said that he had excuses for his absences, including attending the funeral of Cowboys’ strength and conditioning coach Markus Paul in 2020, another funeral for his uncle in Arizona and having surgery on his hip in October 2020, ESPN reported.
Collins is currently serving his suspension. He will be eligible to return on October 18, after the Cowboys play the New England Patriots. But he will lose out on some $2 million in salary, and voids his $6.5 million injury guarantee, per the NFLPA’s collective bargaining agreement, according to ESPN.