Can Miles Austin, the former Cowboys and Browns wide receiver the Eagles officially signed to a one-year deal Tuesday worth a reported $2.3 million, make up for the departed Jeremy Maclin in 2015?
Probably not. In fact, Austin, 30, will more likely be the fourth wideout on the Birds roster. But his veteran experience and one-time game-changing ability will certainly help the team.
“My role right now is just to go in and prepare as hard as I can and see where that takes me,” Austin said in a conference call with Eagles writers Tuesday.”I am trying toget better every day and that’s what the role is.”
Could Austin find himself playing special teams? Or in the slot? He’s open to all options and admits that while he may have lost his explosiveness, he has gained a mental edge as a professional pass-catcher.
“Special teams–I was on the hands team but the last time I did it was in Dallas two years ago,” He recalled. “They had me in for pooch punt situations. I am not against doing anything. Doesn’t matter where they want me to go, I am down to do it. It’s up to them wherever they find the best fit for me.”
Austin’s name is known to Eagles fans from his days with the Cowboys.He spent the first eight seasons of his career in Dallas and ranks eighth in Cowboys franchise history in receiving yards (4,481) and 10th in both receptions (301) and touchdown catches (34).
He had back-to-back Pro Bowl seasons in 2009 and 2010 and most recently caught 47 passes in 12 games in Cleveland (he missed the other four due to injury).
Ironically, Sam Bradford, the new Eagles quarterback helped recruit DeMarco Murray (his college roommate at Oklahoma). Did Murray, in turn, recruit his old Dallas teammate Austin to come to Philly also?
“Me and DeMarco are really close,” Austin said.”I was obviously in communication with him as a friend when he was figuring out what he was doing. Me and him were talking back and forth when he signed with Philly and he was telling me how he experienced coming in and speaking to the coaches, the whole process I went through today, and it reaffirmed all the positive thoughts I already had coming in.”
Another factor, perhaps, was the nearness Philadelphia has to Austin’s friends and family. Austin grew up in North Jersey and attended Monmouth.
“I came here one, because of the opportunity to win,” Austin said. “The proximity to my home town, where I grew up and went to college at, and the guys on the team. They are great guy and like-minded.”
“I got more [exposure to the Eagles] in college than I did growing up. A lot of my friends from Monmouth, guys I played with and went to school with were from South or Central Jersey. A lot of North Jersey friends of mine were Giants or Jets fans but most of my college friends are Eagles fans.”