FRISCO, Texas – While his five-game suspension was upheld by the NFL, Cowboys right tackle La'el Collins is allowed back inside the team facility this week.
Per NFL rules, Collins can be in team meetings, work with the strength and conditioning coaches and seek treatment from the athletic trainers. Because he remains suspended for the next three games for a violation of the NFL's substance abuse policy, Collins is not allowed to practice or be on the practice field while at The Star or Ford Center.
For now, Collins is expected to return to action following the Cowboys' Oct. 17 game in New England. After the ensuing bye week, his next game should be Oct. 31 in Minnesota.
The Cowboys haven't had much trouble replacing him so far. Second-year tackle Terence Steele has played well the last two games as the Cowboys beat the Chargers and Eagles. A year ago, the Cowboys struggled mightily to replace both Collins, who missed all 16 games with a hip injury, and left tackle Tyron Smith, who played in just two games.
Steele used his 14 starts last year to gain plenty of experience as a rookie, and so far the Cowboys have been able to plug him in for Collins on the right side.
Still, the team will be anxious to get Collins back in the lineup by the end of next month.