BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - One week after former LSU offensive lineman La'el Collins was expected to be selected during the first round of the NFL draft, he landed with the Dallas Cowboys as an undrafted free agent.
The team confirmed via Twitter that it signed the Baton Rouge native. Collins and some of his friends also took to the social media platform Thursday afternoon to comment on the signing.
Collins' contract with the Cowboys spans three years and is worth $1.65 million, which includes a $75,000 signing bonus. It is significantly less than the estimated $9.5 million over five years he could have received had he been a first round pick.
"A lot of people passed up on me or whatever the case may be and I understand," Collins said. "I get that. But now, everybody has to face me. Everybody has to face this team and they will feel me."
So, it is motivation for you?
"Oh man, it's ... motivation is an understatement," Collins replied.
Collins mentioned the chance to work with Cowboys tackle Tyron Smith and their outstanding unit played a big role in signing with Dallas.
"I want to take in everything this guy has to offer. I want to learn everything that Tyron Smith can tell me. He's one of the best tackles in the game, if not the best tackle in the game," Collins explained.
"Jack Martin, guys on the offensive line, guys that I'm going to be working with, I just know the guys that was in that room last night is going to pull the best out of me," Collins added.
NFL fans in Louisiana will get an opportunity to see Collins play in the Superdome when the Saints host the Cowboys on October 4.
Despite a lot of drama leading up to his signing, Collins takes a very positive attitude to his new team.
"I couldn't have asked for anything else. I couldn't be in a greater situation. I couldn't be in a greater place," Collins said.
"I just want to thank Mr. Jones, his family, this organization and everybody that's standing behind me because I guarantee you this. I'm going to give this organization everything that I have and more. This is going to be the best offensive line in NFL history. Mark my words," Collins stated.
Earlier in the afternoon, the former LSU offensive tackle also took to Instagram with a picture of his mother wearing a Cowboys hat. The post contained the hash tags "God is good" and "Cowboys for life."
The Dallas Cowboys official website stated the team could play Collins at guard or tackle.
Collins was originally projected as a potential first round pick in the NFL draft until his name surfaced in connection with a murder investigation.
The deal with the Cowboys was completed days after Collins met with the Baton Rouge Police Department. Investigators said Collins is not a suspect in the murder of Brittney Mills, 29. They added test results showed he is not the father of her baby who died a week after Mills' murder.
Numerous NFL teams courted the would-be first rounder, including Buffalo Bills head coach Rex Ryan and some of Collins' former teammates who are now with the Miami Dolphins.