NFL says Cowboys attack Lineman La’el Collins bribing drug test official – CBS Dallas/Fort Worth
Frisco, Texas (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — The NFL has charged Dallas Cowboys offensive lineman Lyle Collins with attempting to bribe a drug testing official before the player was suspended for five games for violating a drug policy, according to court documents released Friday, October 8.
That claim surfaced in a federal court case after Collins sued the league, its board of directors and Commissioner Roger Goodell while seeking an order to suspend the suspension ahead of its two remaining games.
The NFL said the person collecting samples for testing wrote in his notes that in November 2020, Collins asked to meet him “man to man” and said he felt “tested a lot because () they were seeing each other every day.”
The collector said Collins asked if there was something “we could do” and offered $5,000, and later $10,000, according to an NFL report in response to Collins’ request for an injunction.
The player’s agent, Peter Schaefer, a Collins representative, has vehemently denied the bribery allegations against Collins, who was recovering from hip surgery at the time and did not play in 2020.
“He allegedly bribed a collector without giving him any money, to turn a blind eye to a test that was negative?” Schaffer said. “No witnesses, nothing. He came in shirt and shorts on crutches. How could you bribe someone?”
A federal judge heard arguments about the injunction Friday in Sherman, Texas, 65 miles (105 kilometers) north of Dallas. There was no immediate ruling.
The Cowboys (3-1) play the New York Giants (1-3) at home on Sunday. Coach Mike McCarthy said on Friday that there was no plan in place for Collins, the right tackle at the start, to play against the Giants if the suspension came to an end.
Collins’ suspension was announced the day after Dallas lost 31-29 to defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay in the opener, his first game since 2019.
While appealing the suspension, Schafer called quarterback star Dak Prescott to testify in an effort to refute the bribery allegations. Prescott testified about the joking nature of some conversations with the test collector, and said he had not seen Collins carry $10,000 on the day in question.
The association said in its filing that Collins has a “long history of discipline for repeated violations” of its drug use policy. The NFL said Collins missed seven drug tests in a five-week period around the time of the alleged bribery in November 2020.
Schafer contested what he called personal attacks on Collins during Friday’s hearing.
“That’s why it was so important for Lyle to fight this thing so people can see that he’s not a bad person and he doesn’t have this wonderful history of missing tests and being a bad person,” Schafer said. “Just the way they got personally attacked. That’s one of your players. Find a way to do that without making personal attacks. I was embarrassed to be part of the NFL today the way NFL lawyers attacked Lyle personally.”
The league had intended to suspend Collins for the first four games of 2020, but the board and the players’ union agreed to pay a fine. The NFL said Collins continued to miss Tests, suspending five matches negotiated by the union to two.
The appeal of the two-game ban led to the referee returning the five-game suspension after the League alleged Collins’ attempted bribery.
Collins’ representatives say the NFL falsely claimed that the Player of the Year was suspended by four games when he did not. They also said it was suspended due to missed tests when a new labor agreement in 2020 no longer allows suspensions due to missed tests or positive marijuana tests.
Line operator representatives said Collins had legitimate reasons for missing the tests, including the death of his uncle in Arizona and the death of Cowboys strength coach Marcus Ball, who collapsed in the weight room two days before last year’s Thanksgiving game.
Collins signed with the Cowboys as an uncut free agent in 2015. The former LSU player was expected to be a high pick, but his name came up in an investigation into the death of a woman just before the draft. Collins was acquitted in this case.
(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc., all rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)