We know that Jalen Collins has received his second suspension for taking performance enhancing drugs, just days after telling the media his odd demotion had nothing to do with a suspension. He is now out until game 11, assuming the Falcons don’t cut him as soon as his suspension is complete.
Collins went from the bottom of the depth chart in his rookie year, to suspended, then benched, then starting in his sophomore season. It’s been a rollercoaster ride, with fans expecting Collins to take the next step and live up to his pedigree. Sunday’s suspension suggests that’s unlikely to happen, at least in Atlanta. Collins is just one more failed test away from a two-year suspension, a punishment we have not seen yet in the NFL.
After letting this news marinate for a day, I am still at a total loss to explain what the hell is wrong with Collins. I don’t blame the team for taking him. The raw prospect played rarely at LSU, but had the physical traits to be one of the league’s best. You can be a little concerned at his multiple failed drug tests for marijuana in college, but this team had been way too conservative with character issues.
Collins has surprisingly been popped twice for performance enhancing drugs, and not recreational drugs. To think I was worried he might get a random drug test during the offseason and get popped for marijuana.
Nope, he’s taken a supplement he wasn’t supposed to. Which just feels dumb.
I tend to give players the benefit of the doubt after one failed test. Sometimes supplements will have unlabeled additives, or maybe they took something that is legal while not knowing it was banned by the NFL. The second time? You are officially on notice that you should be checking everything. You can’t plead ignorance. The NFL even has a list of approved supplements. I am certain team trainers gave Collins recommendations on training supplements instead of simply saying, “Hey, don’t do that again, please.” Collins had countless resources to rely upon to prevent another failed test.
I can’t come to any conclusion other than Collins is an idiot. We don’t know what he took. (Adderall? Steroids?) You can check out his twitter account for clues, but it’s just full of inspirational quotes. Collins is such an athletic freak, that he is potentially the last guy on the team that needs performance enhancing drugs. He knew he couldn’t afford any more failed drug tests, and yet he has his second in a year.
I know he’s only 24, but Collins still doesn’t get it. Assume he’s clean after two more seasons. Can you ever give him a long-term deal? I can’t think of a team that invested $50+ million into a player that is one failed test away from a two-year ban. And if you pay him, you are relying on him to be there. Collins has showed you can’t rely on him for that.
The Falcons have to hold onto Collins until his suspension is up. He will still be cheap, but at a certain point they will get tired of this headache from their 4th or 5th or 6th best corner. The team will get 10 games to see if they can succeed without him if they haven’t already made a decision on his future with the Falcons.