OXNARD, Calif. – Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Miles Austin has become better known for his hamstring injuries than his play on the field over the last couple of seasons.
Austin finished with 943 yards and six touchdowns last year while battling those setbacks.
How good of a season could Austin have if he stayed healthy for all 16 games? Maybe another 1,320-yard, 11-touchdown year like 2009? That probably wouldn’t happen with Dez Bryant and Jason Witten in the same offense.
But Austin seems to genuinely not care about his stats. At 29, getting back into the postseason appears higher on his list of priorities.
“You obviously want to be 100 percent all the time, but it’s a physical game,” Austin said. “I guess it is frustrating when you are trying to play at a high level, you’re practicing at a high level, you’re trying to compete at a high level and you’re working your butt off every day and you get a hitch, some small injury hear or there.
“The biggest thing that is frustrating is that we didn’t make the playoffs the last couple seasons. I feel like I hold team goals higher than my own personal goals.”
When asked if there was anything he could’ve done differently to avoid those injuries, Austin replied: “Not play football.”
Austin says those setbacks are just part of playing professional sports.
“It’s the nature of the beast,” he said. “Sometimes you get injured doing something, sometimes you don’t get injured doing something. At the end of the day, I’m going to continue to work hard and try my best regardless.”
The combination of Austin’s age and injuries likely played a role in the Cowboys selecting Terrance Williams in the third round of April’s draft. Although Williams has a very good chance of earning the No. 3 receiver spot on the roster, the former Baylor standout could eventually become Austin’s replacement.
What did Austin think when the Cowboys drafted Williams?
“The nature of the beast is there’s new people coming into the league every year,” he said. “That’s just the way the system goes. To be naive to the fact, you’re lying to yourself. At the end of the day, I’m going to continue to work hard. Like I said, I hold team goals above my own. So I’m going to work with the younger guys. I’m not going to not help somebody.
“At the end of the day, it is what it is. At the same time, I’m still going to work my butt off and try my best, and we’ll see what happens.”