OXNARD, Calif. - Dallas Cowboys guard Connor Williams says his O-line mates Tyron Smith and La’el Collins are “hungrier now more than ever” after the tackle tandem essentially missed the entirety of the 2020 NFL season.
And what are they hungry for?
"I think especially this year,'' Williams said, "they have a little bit more taste for blood.”
Blood. But not fried catfish.
During a Collins media visit, Tyron raised his hand to ask a question.
"How did you get so lean?'' he asked La'el, who suggested he largely stayed away from "fried catfish.''
In the case of the mammoth Smith, who played the first two games of last season before succumbing to much-needed neck surgery, his return has been about added flexibility for his incredible 6-5, 310-pound frame. In the case of Collins, it's been about slimming down. He, too, looks mammoth - almost like he's chasing Smith's physique.
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"It was tough mentally, physically, just laying there not being able to be around the guys and go to battle with the guys," said Collins, who missed all 16 games after showing up to camp heavy and then sustaining a hip injury that required surgery. "That was one of the hardest things."
There were odd rumors of Collins thinking of retiring over the offseason. But the veteran right tackle, who just turned 27, says he never considered giving up football, and indeed, took the reverse course. At 6-4, he was at least 323 at this time last year; he may he in the 310 range now.
"I've got too much left in the tank," Collins said of quitting.
Those same rumors circled around Smith, who like fellow linemate Zack Martin (the right guard who got a "vet's day off'' on Sunday) is bound for the Hall of Fame. But Tyron, after all these quality years still just 30, remains committed to the Cowboys.
“For me, it’s always been, 'Tll the wheels fall off, 'til I can’t no more',” Smith said recently of his playing future. “I can’t give you a time estimate or anything like that, but I’m going to go as long as I can.''