FRISCO - There are some blurred lines in the new CBA rules related to the NFL's substance-abuse policy, and La'el Collins clearly believes he's been victimized by the blur.
But a new story offers some clarity to what Collins allegedly did wrong: he was suspended after trying to bribe the league's drug-test collector, sources told ESPN.
Collins, the Dallas Cowboys' starting right tackle, was handed a five-game suspension by the NFL after Week 1. His plan, with guidance from agent Peter Schaffer, was to push for an appeal - an appeal sources told CowboysSI.com last week that he’d already lost - based on four key points:
1) The rules, as they relate to "missed drug tests,'' call only for fines and not suspensions.
2) The rules do call for a suspension if a player "fails to cooperate with tester,'' seemingly meaning he does show up - and then somehow does not comply with what the tester is asking of him. But per some reports, Collins has been cited seven times for "failure to appear" for testing - not for "failure to cooperate.''
3) The "failure to cooperate'' rules list the punishments as one-, two- and three-weeks' salary for, respectively, one, two and three violations. After that comes a three-game suspension (for four violations), a four-game suspension (for five violations), an eight-game suspension (for six violations) and then, for a seventh violation, "banishment for an indefinite period of at least one calendar year.''
4) Collins is contending that some of the testing dates that Collins missed came on days when the Cowboys had sent players home due to a COVID-related situation, and that there were therefore mitigating circumstances.
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Blurred lines? Not so much now.
Collins didn’t only "miss tests.” And his "failure to cooperate'' has now been defined.
If it is true that Collins "has been tested roughly 10 times a month over the past 18 months, and, according to sources, has not tested positive for marijuana once between Oct. 21, 2020 and Aug. 11, 2021'' ... isn't that "clean enough''?
A source tells CowboysSI.com that that number seems “exaggerated.”
READ MORE: Collins Agent 'Appalled' By Decision
Also less confusing now: There is simply no language in the new substance-abuse policy that says seven failures to appear or seven failures to cooperate equate to suspension. So how was the five games arrived at? ESPN reports that Collins’ appeal was initially centered on the NFL’s punishment being two games - but that when an arbitrator discovered the bribe attempt, the arbitrator created the five-game punishment..