Sources -- La'el Collins suspension appeal cites excused absences for missed drug tests

La'el Collins will serve his suspension for five games starting Sunday. However, the Dallas Cowboys right tackle appealed the ban and hoped that the NFL would reverse its decision.
According to sources Collins has missed several drug tests but believes there are valid reasons.

Last November, Cowboys strength-and conditioning coach Markus Paul passed away. The organization sent all its players home to grieve.

According to a source, Collins also missed another test on the day of his uncle's funeral in Arizona. ESPN reported that Collins was allowed to leave Dallas to tend to his family by the Cowboys.

Collins had hip surgery last October, so a third missed test was taken. Collins received the drug after his hip surgery, and the league considered him to have a positive codeine test.

Collins had not received any positive marijuana test results in the last 18 months. His representatives also argued that suspensions for missed tests are not permitted under the new drug policy in the collective bargaining agreement.

Collins can be reinstated to the Cowboys roster on Oct. 18 if his suspension is not overturned or reduced by appeal.

Collins will be suspended for approximately $2 million. The collective bargaining agreement voids Collins' injury guarantee of $6.48million in his 2022 salary.

Collins has been a left guard or right tackle in 62 of the Cowboys' 63 games since 2015. Collins missed 13 games in 2016, due to a toe injury, and all of last year because of hip surgery.

This report was contributed by ESPN's Todd Archer.