La’el Collins met with Baton Rouge police yesterday to answer questions about the murder of his former girlfriend and her unborn child. Collins, who has not been named as a suspect, is now looking to sign a contract as an undrafted rookie. According to a few reports, at least two teams have already started the free-agency dance
Officially, Collins is not yet meeting with teams, or at least that’s what his agent told the AP. Unofficially, though, Collins has already had a reported meeting with the Buffalo Bills head coach Rex Ryan, and is all set to receive a recruiting committee from the Miami Dolphins.
The reason for these meetings being “unofficial” and secretive—the Dolphins denied that they were sending anyone to Baton Rouge—is that NFL rules place restrictions on the sorts of contact teams can have with players whose former schools haven’t yet finished final exams.
According to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Ryan just happened to be in Baton Rouge last night, and called Collins to set up a meeting. Meanwhile, Fox 8 in New Orleans is reporting that the Miami Dolphins are preparing to send head coach Joe Philbin and three of Collins’s former LSU teammates (Jarvis Landry, Anthony Johnson and Kelvin Sheppard) to Baton Rouge to recruit Collins.
There’s also still quite a bit of risk in associating with Collins. Getting his interview with police over with was a big step for him, but until the investigation concludes and/or a suspect is charged, teams will probably remain leery of openly wooing him. And nothing will happen in the immediate future, as police say they want to speak with Collins again. But the fact that these back-room meetings are already happening is a pretty strong indicator that a lot of teams would love to have him, and are gambling on his being cleared.