Dallas Cowboys La’el Collins looking to block remainder of suspension

FRISCO, Texas – A lawyer representing Cowboys right tackle La’el Collins has filed for a restraining order and immediate injunction to restore Collins from the league suspension, according to a copy of the request obtained by USA TODAY Sports.

The claim, filed Wednesday afternoon in a North Texas district court, claims the NFL “clearly (misled) the arbitrator at the hearing and the arbitrator relied on the false statements of the NFL to reach its award decision “. The NFL, in an email to USA TODAY Sports, called the lawsuit “without merit.”

On September 9, the NFL suspended Collins for five games without pay for violating the league’s drug addiction policy. The suspension resulted from a series of drug tests in 2020 that the tackle reportedly failed, each for which Collins’ portrayal says he had an explanation. The League’s Substance Abuse Substance Abuse Policy Update 2020 imposes fines, not suspensions, as a discipline for “unexcused failure to show up for tests” by players in the league. second phase of the league’s drug addiction program. Suspensions can however be pronounced for “non-cooperation with tests or clinical care”.

Collins has already served three games of his suspension and is currently eligible to return to the Cowboys’ Sunday Night Football contest on Oct. 31 in Minnesota.

Prior to that, the Cowboys 3-1 will host the New York Giants on Sunday and travel to the New England Patriots for a game on October 17.

In Collins ‘request for a temporary restraining order, a temporary injunction and a permanent injunction, he argues that the NFL “materially distorted the facts” at an August 31 hearing in Collins’ appeal. against his suspension. In the league’s opening and closing statement, the app says, NFL representation noted that Collins was “drafted for a four-game suspension (and) warned that any future failure to cooperate would result in a suspension.” So here we are again with another failure of cooperation.

“It’s a progressive discipline, four to five.”

The NFL again made reference to a four-game suspension for Collins in its final argument, according to the claim, and Collins’ representation said the referee took that into account prominently in the decision.

“Mr. Collins had already been given a four-game suspension for previous behavior,” said the Sept. 9 award. “The discipline imposed, a five-game suspension, adds to that and is the next progression. logical compared to the previous discipline It is proportional and reasonable.

Collins has not served a suspension since the Cowboys signed him as an undrafted free agent in 2015. Discipline for a previous violation has been resolved as a fine, a person with knowledge of the discipline told USA TODAY Sports. The person spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter.

His representation argues that his lost wages – more than $ 273,529 in three games, with another $ 182,352 at stake during the period of suspension remaining – is part of the “immediate and irreparable damage” that justifies this action.

The NFL disagrees.

“This lawsuit is without merit, as determined by two impartial, jointly appointed NFL-NFLPA referees who reviewed this,” NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told USA TODAY Sports. “We will seek to have this matter closed as soon as possible.”

Collins has started 62 games for the Cowboys since 2015, including this season’s opener at Tampa Bay. He played 83 of 84 offensive snaps in the 31-29 loss; less than 24 hours later, his suspension was pronounced.

Second-year undrafted free agent Terence Steele has since started in place of Collins and has received accolades from coaches and owner Jerry Jones. Steele struggled as a rookie last season hurriedly thrown into action; The heavy off-season work to develop strength and refine technique has paid off.

Dominance of the offensive line helped propel the Cowboys to 245 rushing yards in Sunday’s 36-28 victory over the Panthers, who limited their first three opponents to 45 rushing yards per game, the league’s best. . In a Week 2 win at the Chargers, Steele helped neutralize Chargers star Joey Bosa. The Cowboys’ 420.8 yards per game are third in the league, their 31.5 points per game being the fourth best.

“The O line is definitely clicking,” running back Ezekiel Elliott said Wednesday afternoon. “We’ve all got healthy returning guys. At the moment we don’t have (Collins) but you have young Terence (Steele) stepping up, making great strides from last year.

“All these guys, they play really hard.”

Collins missed the entire 2020 NFL season while undergoing hip surgery.

Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Jori Epstein on Twitter @JoriEpstein.

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