Collins' agent says his client is not meeting with NFL teams
NEW ORLEANS (AP) While La'el Collins may not be meeting with NFL teams, that hasn't stopped some of his former LSU teammates from recruiting the offensive lineman.
Deryk Gilmore said Tuesday that his client isn't meeting with NFL teams after going undrafted despite being widely projected as a first-round choice.
Teams became apprehensive about drafting the All-Southeastern Conference performer when Baton Rouge Police said they wanted to interview him about the shooting death of a pregnant woman he knew. Though Collins has not been named as a suspect or a person of interest in any crime, there are a lot questions about what's next for him.
Gilmore did not detail Collins' upcoming NFL plans, but was emphatic in a text to The Associated Press saying his client is ''not meeting with teams. You can quote me.''
Four Miami Dolphins players, including three of Collins' former LSU teammates, went to Baton Rouge on Tuesday to court the offensive lineman, a person familiar with the situation said. The person said the players went on their own, and no Dolphins official made the trip.
The person confirmed the players' trip to AP on condition of anonymity because the team hadn't commented on Collins' situation.
Making the trip were receiver Jarvis Landry, linebacker Kelvin Sheppard and defensive tackle Anthony Johnson, all former LSU players. Miami offensive lineman Mike Pouncey also made the trip.
Police say Collins has cooperated, answering all questions asked by investigators. Collins may choose to play for any team willing to sign him.
The 6-foot-4, 305-pound Collins is a Baton Rouge native who was rated among Louisiana's top high school prospects in 2010, when he committed to play near home.
He was eligible for the 2014 draft, but elected to play for LSU as a senior to further refine his game, and it appeared to pay off when he was projected as first-round choice this year.
But less than a week before last Thursday's first round, 29-year-old Brittney Mills, who was eight months pregnant, was shot to death, apparently while answering her door, authorities said.
Medical personnel succeeded in delivering her son, Brenton, alive, but he died last Friday.
Baton Rouge police Lt. Jonny Dunnam said Tuesday that because the investigation is ongoing, his department could not say what investigators have learned about Collins' relationship with Mills or whether they have requested a paternity test.
Dunnam said police understood the timing of the investigation was unfortunate for Collins and that the department will be proactive about letting the public know if or when Collins is cleared, but he also stressed that Collins currently is ''no more a person of interest than a neighbor would be.''
Going undrafted in the first round has cost Collins millions of dollars. For now, he is eligible only for a standard three-year contract given to undrafted free agents, which pays $435,000 in 2015, $525,000 in 2016, and $615,000 in 2017. Also, bonuses are limited for undrafted free agents, with each team limited to spending about $87,000 for all undrafted free agents combined.
With teams unable to significantly outbid one another for Collins' services under NFL rules, he'll likely choose the team that he believes is the best fit for him based on the roster and coaching staff.
AP Sports Writer Steven Wine in Miami contributed to this report.
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