FRISCO, Texas – Given everything that's transpired this past month, it'd be understandable if La'el Collins wanted a do-over.
From the five-game suspension, to the failed appeal with the NFL, to the loss of his starting right tackle job, not much has broken in Collins' favor since appearing in the season opener against Tampa Bay.
Despite that, Collins said he isn't second-guessing himself as he eases back into the routine with the Cowboys.
"No regrets at all – none at all," he said. "I did what I felt was right, and sometimes you can't control the outcome. You go into games and you want to win every one of them, but sometimes it just comes down to the last second and you don't another opportunity to go back out there."
Collins spoke to reporters for roughly 10 minutes on Friday afternoon, marking his first public comments since that five-game suspension was handed down the day after the Week 1 loss to the Buccaneers.
Throughout those five weeks, Collins was second-guessed plenty from the outside. His league suspension was originally slated for just two games, but the decision to appeal wound up bumping that number to five.
"Personally, I felt like I had to, just because I felt like it was kind of unfair," Collins said. "Being a guy that didn't fail any drug tests last year, I felt like the bigger picture was that I didn't feel like I did no wrong."
Collins also denied the allegations that he had bribed the NFL's drug collector, a detail that became public during the course of his appeal. He said it started out as a joke and "kind of went the wrong way." But, to his previous point, it all feels a bit like water under the bridge.
"One thing about football, it's taught me about life and how to handle situations," he said. "When you have bad plays, you've got to put it behind you and keep going."
The focus can finally be on football for Collins, who is now tasked with sliding into a role on this Dallas offense. With Terence Steele playing so well in Collins' five-week absence, the Cowboys' coaching staff has opted to keep him in the starting right tackle job – a fact that Collins took no issue with when asked about it.
"I'm proud of the way Terence is playing. He's playing his ass off, and he shows up to work like a pro every day," he said. "Since he came in, we've been working together and I still work with him. I want him to be the best, because at the end of the day it's all about the team."
Collins focused on the team several times throughout the phone call, as he stressed that he wants to do whatever will help the Cowboys continue to win games. In keeping with that, the coaches have asked to take snaps a left guard for the first time since 2016 – an adjustment he said hasn't been as tough as it might sound.
"For me, playing on the left side is a natural thing; playing on the right is something I had to learn," he said. "I really feel like I can play anywhere."
The Cowboys might ask him to, before it's all said and done. As team officials have pointed out often this past week, there are many more games to play. With this latest chapter behind him, La'el Collins just wants to help win them.