FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Atlanta Falcons cornerback Jalen Collins apologized for his repeat violation of the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing substances and his subsequent 10-game suspension, and coach Dan Quinn said the team has yet to decide whether Collins will remain on the roster.
Collins addressed the media after participating in Monday's practice.
"So I addressed the team, talked to DQ, everybody knows what's going on," Collins said. "I know I let a lot of people down. Everybody's really disappointed, including myself. This is something that I've been struggling with and that I'm working on it to put behind me. Just ready to move forward."
"I know I let a lot of people down. Everybody's really disappointed, including myself. This is something that I've been struggling with and that I'm working on it to put behind me."Jalen Collins
Collins, a 2015 second-round draft pick from LSU, was suspended for the first four games of last season for his initial violation of the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances. He never disclosed the details behind the first suspension.
The latest violation led to the 10-game ban, which would keep him away from the team until Nov. 21, provided he's still on the team. He would not count against the 53-man roster while on the reserve/suspended list.
Collins was asked Monday whether the latest suspension was related to the same issue as last year.
"We're not really going to get into specifics," Collins said. "I made a mistake, and learning from it."
Quinn emphasized how the team is disappointed in Collins' latest misstep but stopped short of saying the Falcons are ready to move on without Collins.
"We have three rules to the program, and the first one is protect the team. That did not take place in Jalen Collins' situation, and now there's consequences for that," Quinn said. "Both Jalen and I talked to the team, and the lesson wasn't just for Jalen. We've got such a strong group of teammates, the lesson really is if you're having an issue or problem, that you make sure that you tell one of your guys.
"Past that, last week some of you asked about [Collins] regarding a depth chart, and I'm always going to protect the player. I think for those of you who know me, that's not going to change. At that time, I knew there was an issue with the league. I didn't know if it was going to be resolved to his side or away. And I didn't know if that would take place in July, August, or September. So [general manager] Thomas [Dimitroff] and myself, we made the decision to move him [down the depth chart] until we had further clarity on that, and then we could make the best decision. So in that essence, we were protecting the team."
Quinn was asked whether Collins' second violation made the team consider releasing him.
"The disappointment for having a second repeat offense is stronger," Quinn said. "This just came through yesterday. Some trust has been broken. And we'll take all the time we need to make the best decision for the team."
According to NFL rules, a third violation would lead to Collins being banned from the NFL for two seasons.
Although Collins started the Super Bowl against New England with Pro Bowler Desmond Trufant (pectoral surgery) on injured reserve, Trufant is now back healthy to start opposite Robert Alford. The team has confidence in C.J. Goodwin as the third cornerback and Deji Olatoye as the fourth guy outside, with nickelback Brian Poole also an option to play outside. The team does not plan to move fifth-round draft pick Damontae Kazee from free safety to corner at this time.
Collins had been running with the third-string defense and even the fourth-string unit during training camp. His potential suspension made the coaches opt to prepare other players ahead of him. But Quinn said he plans to play Collins in the preseason games.
Collins was asked when he was first informed about the potential of a 10-game suspension.
"It was just recently, I guess, decided," Collins said. "We really didn't know what was going on. We know now and headed in the other direction. ... We knew, but we didn't know what was going to happen."
Quinn and the Falcons took a chance in drafting Collins in the first place. Collins admitted failing multiple drug tests coming out of LSU, and several teams red-flagged him as a result of marijuana use.
"They're not quite the same issues, but they are red flags," Quinn said of Collins' past history. "Clearly decision-making is something that still needs to be addressed."
Collins knows he has to win back the trust of his team, if he gets another chance.
"Just take care of things on my end, and when I'm in the building, just giving everything to the team," Collins said. "Trying to be the best teammate, the best brother I can be."
Collins, with two years left on his rookie contract, is due to make $928,400 this season. The 10-game suspension would cost him $546,141. If the Falcons decide to release Collins, it would save $344,098 against this year's salary cap. His cap number for this season is $1,447,856.