Released Cowboys OT La’el Collins missing start of Bengals training camp

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The Dallas Cowboys angered a large subset of their fanbase with the decisions over the offseason. Some of that was not bringing in outside free agents but most of the disdain came from the departures from the roster. The Cowboys lost four of 22 starters. No one really bats an eye to Connor Williams leaving in free agency to work with the Miami Dolphins, but the loss of DE Randy Gregory, trade of WR Amari Cooper and release of right tackle La’el Collins angered them the most.

Collins’ departure had the most obvious rationale, though those who think talent wins out over everything still refused to come on board with the train of thought that the club could do the entire addition by subtraction move. He had a troubled final two seasons with Dallas, but was quickly swooped up by the AFC Champion Cincinnati Bengals. Now, as teams are starting to report to training camp, there appears to be a bump in the road with his new team. Collins has been placed on the club’s NFI list.

The non-football injury list has the same principles as the physically unable to perform (PUP) list, except for one important distinction. If a player suffers an injury playing NFL football but can’t start training camp, he goes on PUP. If the injury is suffered outside of football, like at the collegiate level, then he goes on NFI.

Collins has been in the NFL since 2015, so whatever is going on with him has nothing to do with suffering an injury while he was with the Cowboys or from OTA/minicamp work with the Bengals.

Bengals Wire writes:

“The Bengals also placed new right tackle La’el Collins on the non-football injury (NFI) list.

Collins is the only notable surprise here, as everyone else wasn’t going to enter camp at 100 percent.”

What ails Collins will likely soon be revealed and offseason at-home injuries aren’t uncommon around the league. However considering what the last two offseasons have looked like for the former LSU star, it is worth raising an eyebrow over.

Going into the 2020 season, Collins showed up out of shape after the first summer of COVID shut the world down. He also was in a car accident though the hip surgery he eventually had that shut down his 2020 season was never directly connected to that.

After playing in Week 1 of the 2021 season, Collins was suspended for five games for bribing an NFL drug test collector. The club was none too happy with Collins decision to fight the suspension, which led to an increase from the original penalty of two games to the final five.

Combined with their frustration over the weight gain in 2020, those were the two publicly-known transgressions that led the club to feeling that they were better off with Terence Steele being their right tackle heading into the 2022 season.

Whether or not Collins’ absence from the start of Bengals camp is something innocuous or of the same vein as what transpired over the final two years in Dallas is unknown.

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