BRPD declined to meet with La'El before draft

The Baton Rouge Police Department reportedly turned down a request by La'El Collins to meet before the NFL Draft, according to a story by Sports Illustrated's Robert Klemko.

The entire saga with former LSU lineman La'el Collins and the NFL Draft may have been avoided had BRPD accepted a request by Collins and his representatives to meet before the NFL Draft.

According to a report posted Friday by Sports Illustrated's Robert Klemko, Collins attempted to meet with police investigators on the first day of the NFL Draft in an attempt to clear his name in the murder of Brittney Mills, a former romantic partner of Collins. Per Klemko's report, BRPD turned down that request, and no explanation is given in Klemko's story.

The report also states that Collins' attorney, Jim Boren, was unavailable to meet with police the next day because of a court obligation in New Orleans. BRPD was reportedly unavailable to meet during the weekend as well, which led to the Monday meeting that did clear Collins of all involvement in the murder.

NFL teams refused to draft Collins until he was officially cleared in Mills' murder. Reports surfaced the Tuesday before the draft that Collins was sought for questioning in Mills' murder, though Collins was never named a suspect. Collins flew back to Baton Rouge the next day from Chicago, where the NFL Draft was held, hoping to prove his case to investigators.

Collins was unable to have that meeting until after the draft, resulting in all 32 teams passing on him. Collins did sign a fully-guaranteed deal with the Dallas Cowboys as an undrafted free agent, but still lost millions as a result of this investigation.

Now the BRPD should explain why they didn't accept Collins' request to handle all of this before the draft began.

In an interview last week with Gannet's Glenn Guilbeau, BRPD spokesman Don Coppola gave the impression that police struggled to reach Collins and his representatives.

"We would try to make contact with him, and we often did not hear back from him or his lawyer or his agent last week," Coppola said in that story.

That doesn't line up with the timeframe Klemko laid out in his story. In that, he reports the two parties spoke Monday, three days before the NFL Draft began, and Collins wished to meet with them on Thursday. That request was reportedly declined though, leaving the questions to linger through the weekend.

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