Report: Appeal of suspended Cowboys OL focuses on absences

Suspended Dallas Cowboys offensive lineman La’el Collins is pointing to excused absences from the team as a reason he missed drug tests in his appeal, ESPN is reporting.Collins, 28, was suspended without pay last week for violating the league’s substance abuse policy. NFL Network reported that Collins was suspended for missing drug tests.The five-game ban begins with Sunday’s game against the Los Angeles Chargers.According to ESPN, his appeal claims that Collins had valid reasons for several of the missed tests.He reportedly missed a November 2020 test when players had been sent home early to mourn the death of strength and conditioning coach Markus Paul.A second missed test occurred while he was attending an uncle’s funeral, with permission from the team.He reportedly missed another test last October on a day that he was scheduled to have hip surgery and was flagged for codeine after the fact, despite being prescribed the drug after the surgery.The report also says that Collins hasn’t tested positive for marijuana over the previous 18 months.Collins started at right tackle in the season-opening 31-29 road loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and played 99 percent of the snaps.