La’el Collins allowed to return to team facility but remains suspended

Cowboys starting right tackle La’el Collins is allowed to return to the team facility this week, the team announced Wednesday. Collins, though, remains suspended.

He has served two games of a five-game suspension.

Collins can participate in team meetings, work with the strength and conditioning coaches and seek treatment from the athletic trainers. He cannot practice or attend practice.

He can return to practice following the team’s Oct. 17 game against the Patriots. The Cowboys have a bye Oct. 24.

Collins was suspended under the NFL’s substance abuse policy for missing tests and reportedly tried to bribe sample collectors. After the NFL Players Association negotiated a reduction in the proposed suspension from five games to two games, Collins declined the offer in favor of arbitration. An arbitrator ruled against him, making it a five-game suspension.

Terence Steele, who made 14 starts last season as a rookie, has drawn high marks from the Cowboys for his play the past two games in Collins’ stead.

“He’s a great worker,” Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said of Steele earlier this week, via Mark Lane of WFAA. “He’s a dedicated player on and off the field. He obviously got a lot of reps last year because of our injury situation. He used that knowledge and put it with a really strong offseason program to get stronger in his core. I think he’s a much better football player this year than he was last year.”