Choosing Dallas Cowboys Says A Lot About La’el Collins


Admit it.  When you first heard that the Dallas Cowboys were in the hunt for La’el Collins you had some reservations.  Like me, you probably thought – “Just what we need, another troubled youth project that the saintly Cowboys organization can baby sit and reform into a model citizen.”

Your phone probably blew up with texts from your Cowboy-hating buddies when the news broke last week that America’s Team had just lassoed the top undrafted free agent on the market.  One of my texts read: “Your Boyz are selling their souls to the Devil for this ring!”

More from The Landry Hat

Fresh off the controversial signing of accused domestic abuser Greg Hardy and the 2015 NFL draft second round selection of admitted cannabis consumer Randy Gregory, just what was Jerry Jones smoking when he decided to pursue yet another player coming off a recent brush with the law.

It was tough defending the Hardy decision.  It felt dirty, still does.  The Gregory selection was actually a little easier to swallow.  If I can get a first round caliber pass rusher at the number 60 draft slot I don’t mind if the kid is smoking something that is legal in 23 States. 

When the Collins signing broke I was concerned.  Shoot, I was pissed. Why take the chance on another potential bad apple spoiling the Cowboys locker room.   If the guy was a potential shut-down corner I might be able to look the other way… again! But he’s an offensive lineman on a team that already has the best O-line in the game.  We don’t need the hassle.

I hadn’t done much research on the guy.  I could not even pronounce his first name correctly (it’s “Lie-l” by the way).  All I knew was that all 32 NFL general managers had shunned the projected first rounder in all seven rounds of the 2015 NFL draft.  They had to know more about the “non-suspect” than we did.

How the heck did no NFL GM (including Jerry) roll the dice in the 7th round on the hopes that the 6 foot 4 inch 305 pound top offensive lineman in the SEC  was not involved with the murder of his ex-girlfriend?

When I started watching the La’el Collins introductory press conference I was looking at Jason Garrett.  I remember thinking to myself that it must be getting old coming up with new lines to defend these questionable signings.  Deep down I was starting to lose respect for the coach that I’ve come to put at the Landry Level.

Then La’el took the mic.

In a matter minutes I was all in.  It was soon very obvious why Garrett was smiling and Jerry was all choked up.  You could hear the genuine passion in the voice of the well-spoken 21 year old.  I quickly realized that I may be watching Cowboys history.  The steal of the century.

When asked for his comments at the press conference, Jason Garrett threw out some impressive words when describing La’el.  He started with inspirational and mixed in strength, faith, courage, and poise.  Garrett was obviously moved by the way his newest offensive lineman handled his unfortunate draft situation.

What I was most moved by was the fact that Collins actually chose to make his new home in Dallas.  If you have your pick of all 32 NFL teams, why would you select an offensive line that already has three Pro-Bowlers on it?  When you could be the top gun on most other team’s O-Line, why choose a team where you may not even be a week 1 starter?

The fact that La’el wanted to wear the Star says a lot about this kid.  As he said early in his statement, Collins wants to “Fight for a championship year in and year out.”.  That is the type of guy I want in my locker room and the type of player I want protecting my franchise QB.

Jerry Jones was gushing with emotion when he relayed the story Collins’ mother had told him.  She summed it up best when she said:

"My boy has been hit on the end of the nose – hard.  I would not want to be in his way and would advise nobody else to get in his way… He’s gonna show ’em!"

Unfortunately for the other 31 NFL GMs that passed on La’el, they may just find out soon enough that Momma is always right!

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