Choose best cheap La’el Collins Dallas Cowboys jersey online, womens youth youth La’el Collins gear sale, buy La’el Collins jersey including ash/black/camo/gray/green/grey/Navy Blue/pink/white/ colour.The more you buy, the more gifts you give, the best quality, and the fastest logistics.
FRISCO — Popcorn shrimp, shrimp fried rice and a salad were part of the usual order at John’s Seafood restaurant in Baton Rouge. Lahairoi Dillon occasionally placed it when visiting home as a student at nearby Southern University and A&M College.
Some of the plate, she’d eat right away. The rest, she’d plan to finish later. But upon returning to the refrigerator, that white to-go box would feel noticeably lighter than before.
Popcorn shrimp: gone.
Fried rice: gone.
“I’d leave the salad,” La’el Collins said with a laugh. “I let her have that.”
As two of five siblings raised by a resilient mother who worked multiple jobs, Lahairoi and La’el in some sense shared a typical sibling relationship. There was the occasional dust-up over food or footraces to see who sprinted faster. Far deeper than that, there was a bond. This surfaced around Thanksgiving last year when tragedy struck.
Today, La’el has much for which to be thankful.
The Cowboys’ right tackle is healthy, albeit donning a bulky brace over a left knee sprain. He is playing the best football of his NFL career following a five-year, $50 million contract extension he signed in August. Most important, he has his family.
About 30 members, including Lahairoi and her husband, are in the Dallas area this week. The majority will attend Thursday’s game against the Buffalo Bills before convening at his home for a holiday feast.
“I’m extremely grateful for everything I have,” La’el said. “Family, my two beautiful kids. … I’m thankful just to be in the place that I am right now. I’ve been through a lot in my life, the challenges that came with growing as a man. I’m thankful I finally get to see all of my family here together.”
La’el wore No. 70 at Redemptorist Upper School and also LSU before switching to No. 71 upon joining the Cowboys. Neither number represents who he is as a football player or how he’s quietly come into his own this season.
His offensive line coach has a number for that.
After each win, the Cowboys’ staff selects one player to receive boxing gloves and a championship belt in honor of exemplary individual contribution to the game’s result. This is more hallowed ground than a game ball. On Oct. 20, La’el earned the hardware for his performance in a 37-10 win over the Philadelphia Eagles.
Marc Colombo, an NFL offensive lineman from 2002 to 2011, joined the Cowboys’ coaching staff in 2015.
His arrival coincided with that of La’el, who signed as an undrafted free agent. La’el was considered a first-round prospect until, shortly before the draft, Baton Rouge police announced intent to interview him as part of a murder investigation. He never was a suspect. Investigators ultimately cleared him of wrongdoing.
Under Colombo, La’el has settled in here in Dallas.
After two seasons at left guard, he switched to right tackle in 2017. He gradually gained a greater understanding of the position’s nuances. Between that comfort and improved hand usage, he’s made a significant jump this year.
So far, his performance against the Eagles was the pinnacle.
“He had 14 knockdowns in the game,” Colombo said. “It’s the most I’ve ever seen of any lineman since I’ve been coaching or even playing. I mean, you look at that. Sixty-nine total plays. Fourteen of those times, he was knocking a guy to the ground. … We made a big deal about it because it’s not easy to knock down anyone in the NFL, especially a physical team like the Philadelphia Eagles.”
This is who La’el is during a football play.
“He is one of the most physical players I’ve ever played with,” running back Ezekiel Elliott said. “It’s a big factor in his game.”
Said right guard Zack Martin: “He’s an enforcer on our line. He brings a lot of that kind of demeanor and attitude to our line. … I’m not a big smack talker, but La’el in his case, he’s almost better when he is playing that game with someone.”
This isn’t who La’el is outside the game.
He flips a switch, sometimes just seconds before a snap.
Last Sunday, against the New England Patriots, rain and wind made a nightmare of kicking, passing and catching. The wind chill sunk into the 20s. And yet, before becoming the Cowboys’ thumper, he found himself laughing at the line of scrimmage because center Travis Frederick was diagnosing the defense’s pass rushers so accurately and eloquently while directing the protection assignments.
How frustrating that must be for the opponent, La’el thought.
His on-field nastiness was not inherent; he learned early to channel it into his game. Youth football coaches preached to him that collisions were coming either way. It was either hit or be hit. That made sense to La’el, who preferred the first option.
Hardship coached him, too.
In middle school, he rode the bus and played sports with his best friend until one day learning they could no longer. The friend was killed as a bystander to gun violence. La’el attended his funeral. He had to learn to ride, play and live without him.
There were days at home when the lights or water was off. His mother worked so both utilities returned in short order. Still, La’el was aware of their circumstances. La’el didn’t just clean out food from the refrigerator, growing into the eventual 6-4, 320-pound lineman he became.
He paid attention.
Be it Domino’s Pizza, working security, delivering phone books or a different vocation, Loyetta Collins went from one job to the next. She didn’t complain between shifts. She did what needed to be done.
“My mom was a hustler,” said La’el, who calls her his “superhero.”
And in case her work ethic wasn’t inspiring enough, there was Loyetta’s personality. Faith seems to flow through the very fabric of her being, her sentences often slipping into sermons. She recites proverbs and biblical passages with passion.
All the while, she’s sought what was best for her children.
La’el became involved in Boy Scouts of America during elementary school before he ever began organized football or basketball. He was active in church, singing as part of the choir. That felt a little awkward, he admitted, since it seemed the whole congregation was staring at him as the tallest one. He was active, too, in the Boys & Girls Club and Big Buddy, a youth mentoring organization in Baton Rouge.
Such experience has made La’el mindful of giving back.
He annually hosts a free football clinic in his hometown. On Monday evening, he will host a celebrity bowling night at Bowlmor Dallas in Addison. It will accept unwrapped toys and benefit the Oliver W. Holmes Humanities/Communications Academy.
“As the years went on, the neighborhood got bad,” Loyetta said in a phone interview. “But I’m going to be honest with you: We lived there, but we were always gone. We were involved in church. We were involved in sports. We were involved in scouting. We were involved in so many things. We slept there, but we weren’t there for the most part.
“I didn’t allow my children to [be] with everybody because I understand how things can work. Association can bring on assimilation. … I tried to keep them under my wing.”