Sept. 10 (UPI) -- Dallas Cowboys starting right tackle La'el Collins was suspended five games for violating the league's substance abuse policy, the NFL announced Friday.
League sources told ESPN, NFL Media and the Dallas Morning News that Collins never tested positive for any banned substances. According to the outlets, the suspension stemmed from the offensive lineman missing drug tests.
ESPN reported that Collins continues to appeal the five-game ban, arguing that his infraction allows for a fine but not a suspension. The suspension will cost him about $2 million and, under the collective bargaining agreement, it voids the current injury guarantee worth $6.48 million in his 2022 salary.
Collins will be eligible to return to the Cowboys' roster Oct. 18, the day after the team plays the New England Patriots.
Since entering the league as an undrafted free agent out of LSU in 2015, the 28-year-old Collins has started 62 of the 63 games he has played for the Cowboys. He missed 13 games in the 2016 campaign due to a toe injury, and he sat out all of last season because of hip surgery.
In Collins' absence, the Cowboys could lean on veteran Ty Nsekhe or Terence Steele -- who started 14 games last year -- at the right tackle spot.