The Dallas Cowboys lost on Thursday night. That is not ideal, but it was the first game of the season and they showed a lot of fight against the reigning world champions, so Friday generally began with a lot of optimism.
Some wind in those sails dissipated on Friday afternoon when it was reported that wide receiver Michael Gallup is set to miss 3-5 weeks with a calf strain. That in itself is not ideal as Gallup is an important contributor to the Cowboys offense, but with the team’s depth at the position it feels like something the group can overcome.
Things have now turned very dark for the Cowboys, though. ESPN reported that starting right tackle La’el Collins has been suspended for five games.
My understanding is La’El Collins was suspended for missing drug tests. Essentially, failure to appear. https://t.co/L4dL8GgRp3— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) September 10, 2021
This came out of absolutely nowhere considering that Collins just played in the season opener on Thursday night. Collins reportedly violated the league’s substance-abuse policy. The suspension has already reportedly been appealed. Clearly the appeal lost.
To be frank, this is devastating for the Cowboys. They played without Zack Martin on Thursday night (who tested positive for COVID-19 last weekend) and looked on track to get him back next Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers. Operating without Collins for over a month is going to be challenging.
How the Cowboys handle Collins’ absence remains to be seen. Martin is obviously the team’s starting right guard, but with Connor McGovern handling the position well on Thursday night perhaps the Cowboys consider kicking Martin out to right tackle for the next five weeks.
Update: 4:35pm ET
It appears as if the suspension may not be final.
The La'el Collins suspension is not final and should have been disclosed or reported. But, as usual, the NFL's confidentiality policy is breached -- by among others the NFL's in-house media operation.— ProFootballTalk (@ProFootballTalk) September 10, 2021
We will see.