The Dallas Cowboys nearly had another Randy Gregory situation on their hands. After it was reported on Tuesday that La'el Collins agreed to sign to the Cowboys practice squad, NFL Network's Jane Slater shared on Wednesday that the deal wasn't official and that Collins was still weighing offers from other teams.
Collins had taken a free agent visit with the Bills, but there was no mention of another team pursuing the eighth-year pro. It seemed like a matter of when, not if, Collins would agree to terms with his former team and that became official Thursday morning, per Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News.
It would've been painful had Collins spurned the Cowboys for another team, but the truth is he didn't want to be anywhere else.
After word spread that Collins signed to the practice squad, the 30-year-old shared a heartfelt message to the fans on Instagram that proves this homecoming was long overdue. It's clear Collins never wanted to leave Dallas.
La'el Collins pens heartfelt message to Cowboys fans on Instagram after signing with team
We're not sure whether to run through a brick wall or throw on sweatpants and indulge in a pint of ice cream. Collins' post is evoking all of the emotions. It's clear Dallas has always held a special place in his heart and returning to the Cowboys could be the full-circle moment he needs to get his career back on track.
In fact, Collins still owns a home on Lake Lewisville, which is a short drive from the team's headquarters at The Star in Frisco.
The Baton Rouge native signed with the Cowboys as a priority free agent after the 2015 draft and started 71 of 74 games at left guard and right tackle before he was released after the 2021 season. His unceremonious departure never sat right with fans, but it was a sound decision by the front office.
At the time, Collins was two years into a five-year, $50 million contract extension and was sidelined for the entire 2020 season due to injuries. He was also given a five-game suspension in 2021 for missing multiple drug tests. The emergence of Terence Steele at right tackle in 2020 allowed for Dallas to cut bait with Collins.
That's ironic because Steele is now laboring through the worst season of his career, albeit his first season removed from ACL surgery. Collins himself is a year removed from a torn ACL that preluded his release from the Bengals.
Again, this is a weird, yet heartwarming full-circle moment for Collins. Who knows if he sticks long-term in Dallas this time around, but his sheer love for the city and franchise sets the stage for the most unlikely of redemption arcs.
He seems to have everyone in his corner.