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Ex-Cowboys OT La'el Collins on joining Bengals: 'I felt like this was the perfect fit from the jump'

The Cincinnati Bengals added the crown jewel to their offensive line remake, signing La'el Collins to a three-year contract on Sunday.

"There are good fits and perfect fits," Collins said, via the team's official website. "I felt like this was the perfect fit from the jump. Obviously my history with (offensive line) coach Frank (Pollack). The type of coach he is. His standards are high. He's the best offensive line coach I've been around since I've been in the NFL, hands down. And getting back to work with him. And also the players on this team you see and look at the guys around that helped bring this team to where it is. What other team would you want to be part of?"

After being cut by the Dallas Cowboys, the Bengals were the immediate favorite to add the stalwart tackle. Once he arrived in Cincy -- where he spent time with Joe Burrow and a few offensive linemen -- the club was determined not to let him leave to make his next free-agent visit.

Offensive line coach Frank Pollack's presence helped the Bengals' cause. The 54-year-old assistant was Collins' O-line coach when he broke into the NFL with Dallas in 2015.

"He's the real deal. His play demeanor, he's a tempo-setter, he's a glass-eater through and through," Pollack said. "He's physical. He finishes. He punches. He's heavy-handed in pass protection. He's relentless in the run game. He's an impressive guy. It's great to coach him again."

While penalties have been an issue at times for Collins, he's allowed just four total sacks over the past two years combined. Burrow was sacked four or more times in eight games in 2021, including playoffs.

Collins adds a reliable right tackle that should help solidify a remade group. The Bengals also added guard Alex Cappa and Ted Karras, who will play center. Former first-round pick Jonah Williams remains at left tackle, with 2021 second-rounder Jackson Carman projected to man the left guard spot.

"We have three new guys that know how to set the tone," Pollack said. "Pros that know how to prepare and practice. That's what L.C. is. He prepares hard and practices hard."

Before his signing became public, Collins received a text from Burrow asking whether they got a deal.

"I told him, 'Yeah, your new bodyguard is in town,'" Collins said.

Make that three new bodyguards who should help Burrow stay upright after being sacked 71 times during Cincinnati's Super Bowl run.

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