(CNN) — Dallas Cowboys tackle La’el Collins, 26, was able to make a Christmas dream come true when he surprised his mother, Loyetta Collins, with the biggest Christmas gift she has ever received.
Collins surprised his mother with a house.
“I was totally caught off guard,” Loyetta Collins told CNN affiliate WVLA. “I was astonished. I’m truly overwhelmed. This has truly been an awesome Christmas for me.”
However, this joyous occasion may have never happened if not for Collins’ perseverance.
Leading up to the 2015 NFL draft, Collins was considered to be one of the 10 best prospects entering the league. But he wound up going undrafted following news that Baton Rouge police wanted to speak to him after a pregnant woman he previously had a relationship with was shot and killed.
While Collins was not considered a suspect, it scared teams off from drafting him. The Cowboys stepped in and signed him as an undrafted free agent following the draft.
Collins’ hard work earned him a two-year, $15.4 million extension from the team in 2017. And this September, Collins received a five-year, $50-million contract extension from the Cowboys.
Collins is earning every penny this season with his stellar play.
The Cowboys have the most total yards on offense this season, and the team’s offensive line is one of the biggest reasons why. While Collins was snubbed from the Pro Bowl this season, he was certainly worthy of being selected with only one sack allowed all year.
Pro Football Focus ranked Collins as the eighth-best offensive lineman and the third-best tackle this season.
“This is a special moment, man — I’m just lost for words,” Collins told WVLA. “It’s a special moment. I’m so happy. I’m extremely blessed to be in a position to be able to do this for my family.”
“It was always a dream, and just to be able to make that happen, man, nothing compares, nothing compares.”