The Dallas Cowboys have signed offensive lineman La'el Collins after he went undrafted in last weekend's NFL Draft.
"I had the opportunity to chose from 32 teams, where I wanted to be, I wanted to be a Dallas Cowboy," Collins said in a news conference Thursday. "I wanted to be in a place where I was going to fight for championships year in and year out."
Collins was accompanied by his mother and even recognized her. "This is my mother, one of the strongest women, I know. My hero. And I don't know where I would be without her," he said.
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Cowboys President and General Manager Jerry Jones even shed tears as Jason Garrett watched and smiled. Garrett said every report the Cowboys got on Collins described him as both mentally and physically tough.
The NFL Network's Ian Rapoport reports it's a three-year deal, fully guaranteed. Of course, the team has not released specifics of the deal.
DallasCowboys.com said Collins has the versatility to play at either guard or tackle and gives the team four first-round talents on the O-Line.
Collins fell out of the draft last week after the Baton Rouge police made it known that they wanted to speak to him about the shooting death of a pregnant woman with whom he had an association.
Police have been clear that Collins is not a suspect or a person of interest in the case at this point, and the Baton Rouge Advocate reported this week that it’s been determined that he wasn’t the father of the victim’s unborn son.
But the mere connection to the incident was enough to drop Collins -- once viewed as a probable first round pick -- off of every team’s draft board completely last week.
Since then though, there’s been no shortage of interest in the 6-foot-4, 305 pound All-SEC tackle. Bills’ head coach Rex Ryan met with Collins on Monday
Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, meanwhile, reports that the meeting with the Cowboys took place on Wednesday night.