Dallas Cowboys coach, Jason Garrett preaches getting players that are “Right Kind of Guys.” Through the most tumultuous adversity La’el Collins have encountered, he has proven that he is a RKG. Collins was slotted to go in the first round of the NFL Draft last Thursday. Some had him going within the top 15 selections.
Collins is 6 feet four inches tall. He weighs 304 pounds. He played both Tackle and Guard on the left side of the LSU Tigers offensive line. Collins started in 38 games (25 at Tackle and 13 at Guard). His versatility and experience is just the beginning of why he is a phenomenal football player. Collins is a tough and physical player, both mentally and physically. He plays with aggression and power. He is a mauler. He possesses quick feet and is strong in both his upper and lower body. He has the total package and is a pro bowl caliber type of player.
This dream of his, being selected and signing a lucrative contract, did not come to fruition due to a murder investigation. As a result, Collins went undrafted. The NFL had previously denied his request to be removed from draft or be entered into the supplemental draft.
The only way he could go into next years draft would be to get drafted by a team and refuse to sign the contract, holding out the entire year. This was an option, but La’el knew he wanted to play football this year. La’el Collins had already missed out on millions of dollars. What he was afforded to do in becoming an undrafted free agent was to have the option to pick what team you will play for from your contract offers. La’el had 29 teams that were on record trying to receive his talents. Collins and his agents evaluated each team, trying to find the best fit. What happens next was a Godsend for Collins.
He received a call. From who? Cowboys owner and general manager, Jerry Jones. The two talked for hours, about the interest of Collins being a Cowboy, the investigation and the person La’el was. Jones got to know who he was as a person and from what background this young man came from. After the conversation, La’el felt like he was being guided by God. He immediately called Jerry Jones back and requested a meeting with him. Collins met with not only Jerry Jones, but players like Tyron Smith and Tony Romo who he had looked up to. He knew that Dallas was the place for him, not only to play football, but to become a better man and have a chance to make history. He felt that Jerry Jones and this organization believes and trusts in him and can push him to be greater than he ever thought. “If you want to be great” Collins said, “surround yourself with great people.” Iron sharpens iron.
Instead of going to a team with less competition for a starting job, he wanted to contribute and be a part of something special. “What’s greater than being a Cowboy?” Collins asked. Collins chose to be here with his future in mind. To build, to grow and become his best. To win Championships. To make History. He feels like, with the right amount of dedication, chemistry and hard work, this offensive line can be the best ever.
Collins is motivated. His mother likened it to being hit in the face with a vicious blow. Now this 305 pound man is set to unleash on everyone, the teams that passed on him, and they will now have to “face” him. Regarding the money, Collins stated that he “Never played the game for Money.” Football is a passion of his. While he does think about the money he initially lost, he understands that if he and this team plays to a level he knows it can, the money will take care of itself.
Not too many press conferences are scheduled because of an undrafted free agent. Collins case is different. One can’t help but come away impressed by this young man. His pride, passion and commitment to being great. I have a feeling that there won’t be too much standing in his way. That the adversity that La’el went through will be added motivation to becoming great. After all, even through this investigation Collins has shown he can stand tall. The process to greatness has begun.