Cowboys’ La’el Collins ejected for punching helmeted player

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Here we see La’el Collins employing a more effective way of protecting his QB: Blocking.

Here we see La’el Collins employing a more effective way of protecting his QB: Blocking.
Image: Getty Images

It would be an understatement to say it’s been a strange season for Dallas Cowboys offensive tackle La’el Collins. Collins was suspended five games earlier this year for trying to bribe the NFL’s drug-test collector. Now Collins is back in the headlines again, this time for throwing a punch at Washington defensive end William Bradley-King during the Cowboys’ 27-20 win over their division rival.

Football is an emotional game no matter what level it’s played on, so it’s normal to see players get worked up and do crazy and sometimes outlandish things on the field. But it will forever be mind-boggling as to why someone would ever opt to throw a punch at someone wearing a helmet. It feels like we see this more often than we should and never fails in making most of us chuckle.

This incident resulted from Collins reacting to a hit on Dak Prescott by Bradley-King that he felt was “uncalled for.”

“It wasn’t really the late hit for me,” Collins said. “I felt it was more so, I felt like he was rolling toward Dak’s leg. It was uncalled for. I’m just here to protect my quarterback at all costs, and that’s the bottom line.”

I have no issue with players protecting their quarterback, but when you’re a vital piece to the offensive line on a team in contention, you need to make better decisions. Had Collins only shoved Bradley-King, he may not have been ejected. Ezekiel Elliot also jumped into the fray but didn’t punch any helmets, so he remained in the game.

One person who loved Collins’ initiative? Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy. I’m sure Collins even got a nice attaboy from coach McCarthy on the sideline following the skirmish.

“LC did exactly what you’re supposed to do there,” McCarthy said. “We all understand the challenges of officiating, whatever you thought of the play all the way around. This is a game and obviously very competitive, the fact that it’s your quarterback or whoever, so you know these games will be chippy, they’re division games. Once it got going, I thought both sides did a good job of locking everything up and moving on. It happens in these types of games.”

The NFL probably didn’t love one of its head coaches openly advocating this type of incident, so McCarthy will likely be hearing from commissioner Roger Goodell’s office sometime this week. Collins will undoubtedly be hearing from the league’s office for his swing at Bradley-King. Since Collins is building himself a little reputation here lately, I wouldn’t be surprised if a fine followed that conversation. For reference, the Giants’ Kadarius Toney, who also punched a helmeted opponent earlier this season, was fined but not suspended for his inexplicable decision.

So, if we learned nothing else from Sunday’s fight between division rivals, I think it’s safe to say that throwing punches at helmets in the NFL will only ever hurt the guy delivering the blow. The guy on the receiving end has a thick layer of protection and is probably looking at his adversary like, “Dude, WTF?” There are other ways to protect your QB.

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