By Conrad Clowers
Herald Sports Writer
The Dallas Cowboys loss became the Cincinnati Bengals gain in March of 2022. After a string of tackles that just did not pan out via the draft, Cincinnati put their hopes that La’el Collins free agent signing could break that trend. Many reports had quarterback Joe Burrow doing his part in wooing the new Bengal tackle to town. Both Collins and Burrow starred at LSU, but a few years apart.
As much of a dynamo as Collins is on the field, he did come with his share of controversy. Last season the huge 6-4, 318-pound Collins was suspended for five games for violating the leagues substance abuse policy. It did not stop him from leading the explosive Dallas Cowboys offense to a 12-5 record and a playoff birth. Collins was a free agent signee with the Dallas Cowboys out of LSU in 2015.
Success was nothing new to the former LSU star lineman. Going back to his days in high school at Redemptorist High School in Louisiana, Collins was All State his sophomore, junior and senior seasons. He was even a Parade All American. Collins blocked in those days for former Bengal running back Jeremy Hill. The Redemptorist star would have his pick of colleges he would attend before deciding on LSU.
As promising as the future of the new Bengals tackle look, along with new high profile offensive linemen, Collins and the rest of the line struggled in their first regular season game against the Pittsburg Steelers. Quarterback Joe Burrow was sacked seven times and hurried multiple times. Not only is the former Cowboy star playing with new players, neither he nor his fellow starting linemen saw action in preseason ball giving them time to gel. Collins also battled injury in the preseason, delaying gel time with his new team.
Head coach Zac Taylor, though not happy with the results of the 23-20 overtime loss to Pittsburg, says he is not worried at all that the team will get back to its winning ways.
It’s only ironic that Collins will be going back to his old stomping ground of Dallas to take on his former teammates he use to practice against day in and day out. The Cowboys will be coming off a loss of their own which cost them starting quarterback Dak Prescott to injury. For Collins it will be a chance to shut down Cowboy star rusher Micah Parsons after struggling with T.J Watt of the Steelers. Collins skills will be needed, because week in and week out, the star free agent of the Bengals will face the NFL’s top pass rushers.