Dallas Cowboys offensive lineman La’el Collins has sued the NFL and Commissioner Rodger Goodell and is seeking an injunction to halt his five-game suspension over substance abuse violations.
Collins has already served three games for the suspension and filed his lawsuit in Collin County, which encompasses Frisco, the location of the Cowboys’ headquarters.
It claims that Collins missed drug tests when the labor agreement reached in 2020 no longer allowed suspensions over missed tests or positive tests for marijuana. According to an AP report, the NFL called the suit “meritless.”
Collins’ suspension was announced the day after Dallas’ 31-29 loss to defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay in the opener. The remaining two games of the suspension are Sunday at home against the New York Giants and Oct. 17 at New England.
The lawsuit says the NFL misled an arbitrator by saying Collins had previously been suspended four games when he hadn’t. The NFL eventually decided to fine rather than suspend Collins over missed tests in early 2020.
In November 2020, the league was prepared to suspend Collins fives games over missed drug tests. The union negotiated a reduction to two games, but an appeal led to an arbitrator reinstating the five-game ban.
Collins’ representatives said the league announced the suspension with another appeal pending. The lawsuit claimed the announcement violated the confidentiality clause in the agreement between the league and the union over substance-abuse policies. The 28-year-old Collins is on his third contract, the most recent a $50 million, five-year extension signed in 2019.