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Cowboys OT La'el Collins suspended 5 games for violating NFL's substance-abuse policy

Collins started Thursday night's season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

DALLAS — Dallas Cowboys offensive tackle La'el Collins has been suspended for five games for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy, according to a league spokesperson.

Collins was suspended without pay and will be eligible to return to the team's active roster on Monday, Oct. 18, after the Week 6 matchup with the New England Patriots. It was unclear how exactly the policy was violated.

Had coach Mike McCarthy opened a Friday news conference following Thursday's loss by addressing the suspension, saying it was something he really couldn't speak on right now.

"I know the timing is a bit awkward, but it's something that I really can't talk about right now," McCarthy said.

The 28-year-old started Thursday night's regular season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Tampa. It was his first game after missing all of last season due to a hip injury.

The Cowboys lost Thursday's game 31-29.

During the press conference, McCarthy added how any shake up to the offensive line hurts its continuity, which was an issue last year, as well. 

"The health and continuity of your offensive line, if you look at it historically, equates to winning...so that's something to pay attention to," McCarthy said. "But in the same breath, injuries are part of the game. You know, guys miss games, and I think if you look at the way we went about our roster development, trying to keep as many players as possible, this is why."

Collins signed a five-year contract extension back in 2019. He's been part of the Cowboys since 2015 after going undrafted.