Will the NFL suspend Cowboys tackle La’el Collins for punch?

Dallas Cowboys offensive tackle La'el Collins (71) Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Dallas Cowboys offensive tackle La'el Collins (71) Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports /

I have gotten on my soapbox before about this topic, but I feel like the NFL will seriously consider suspending Dallas Cowboys offensive tackle La’el Collins after he threw a punch in Sunday’s game to protect quarterback Dak Prescott. Prescott was hit out of bounds late, and Collins was not okay with it.

I think it would be a mistake for the NFL to suspend Collins. But, if there was a pattern to follow regarding rules violation, it would depict a narrative that the NFL doesn’t give Dallas the benefit of the doubt. I have said this before and I will say it again… I do not condone violence. But, there are some unwritten rules in football that need to be adhered to.

Yes. The hit on Prescott, by rule, was a legal hit. But with an asterisk.

The majority of the time, NFL defenders are going to allow quarterbacks to run out of bounds on the sideline. When a quarterback throws it close to the sideline, defenders often pull up because they don’t want to be called for a penalty. Neither of those things happened. Washington Football Team‘s linebacker William Bradley-King pushed Prescott out of bounds as he let the ball go, and that is where all of the excitement happened. Legal, yes. But this is the type of rule that can only be enforced by teammates.

Will Cowboys’ La’el Collins punch to protect QB Dak Prescott lead to suspension?

If you rewind to last season, quarterback Andy Dalton was playing for an injured Prescott. In a game also against WFT, a dirty hit knocked Dalton out of the game. As Dalton lay there concussed, the linemen that were in charge of protecting Dalton chose NOT to interject. Even though Collins had to watch that game from home, he expressed his clear disappointment about that situation, as well.

Fast forward to Week 14’s matchup and the story was much different. Collins and running back Ezekiel Elliott rushed to their quarterback’s defense and a scuffle ensued. Collins even threw a punch, which was more than likely the reason for his ejection.

The NFL set a dangerous precedent when they chose not to suspend New York Giants wideout Kadarious Toney for his punch in the Week 5 contest against Dallas. But, I am ok with the Collins ejection. What worries me is the fact that Collins has already had run-ins with the league, so the NFL suspending him wouldn’t be a surprise. It would be his second suspension of the season. In fact, I think that the NFL could fumble the situation again in their favor.

Remember that Cowboys’ defensive tackle Trysten Hill was suspended for two games for throwing a punch in the postgame handshake on Thanksgiving night. Hill appealed and received a reduced suspension of one game.

But, it was after the moves after the Week 13 game that perplexes me. According to SI’s Mike Fisher, the NFL reversed course and the Hill suspension ended up being overturned completely after the Week 13 matchup. Hill shouldn’t have missed the game against New Orleans. Sportrac also shows that the suspension was lifted completely. Doesn’t seem fair that all of this happened after he already had to miss the game against the Saints. Talk about trying to put the toothpaste back in the tube.

I have to assume it was the videos on social media showing Las Vegas Raiders lineman John Simpson confronting and instigating the fight that had something to do with the reversal. But that is only an assumption.

With Collins apparently still looking for firm footing, I would not find it surprising if Collins misses this weekend’s game against New York. It’s also important to note that the early reports on Hill said he wouldn’t be suspended, yet he eventually was.

Losing Collins would really put Dallas in a bind, especially if left tackle Tyron Smith also cannot play due to injury. Collins hasn’t had the easiest of seasons, but I have an enormous amount of respect for him. Defending your teammates is a must. I say this even if it does affect the team in Week 15.

Word of any fine or suspension is usually leaked by midweek, so I assume we will have our answer soon.