Dallas Cowboys

Austin aims to ‘show out’ against former Rams teammates as sting from trade fades

Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Tavon Austin (10) runs against the Seattle Seahawks during the second half of the NFC wild-card NFL football game in Arlington, Texas, Saturday, Jan. 5, 2019. The Cowboys won 24-22. (AP Photo/Roger Steinman)
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Tavon Austin (10) runs against the Seattle Seahawks during the second half of the NFC wild-card NFL football game in Arlington, Texas, Saturday, Jan. 5, 2019. The Cowboys won 24-22. (AP Photo/Roger Steinman) AP Photo

Tavon Austin has no hard feelings.

But, deep down, you know he wants to show the Los Angeles Rams why trading ‘Big Tay’ to the Dallas Cowboys last spring was a mistake.

Austin, who played his first five seasons for the Rams after being selected eighth overall in the 2013 draft, was traded to Dallas for a sixth-round pick in last year’s draft.

Austin couldn’t help but feel disrespected by the trade after battling injuries in 2017 that had him playing at less than 100 percent for 16 games.

The Cowboys play the Rams at 7:15 p.m. Saturday in the divisional playoffs at LA Memorial Coliseum.

“It was a little tough for me just because it was the first time I went through it,” Austin said. “I’ve seen other people go through it but you never know until it’s you. When the trade happened, once again it’s back in His hands. I was hurt a little bit by it just because of my situation with me being hurt.”

Austin said he talked to Rams coach Sean McVay on the phone when the trade went down and there are no hard feelings.

“When I was there he was one of my closest dudes,” he said. “You’re always going to feel disrespected because you’re getting traded. If you get traded, evidently you’re not doing something right. Or you ain’t getting it done, or they don’t believe in you. One of those areas.”

It’s the cold, business side of the NFL, Austin said, and it took him a moment to get over it. A groin injury put a damper on Austin’s first season with the Cowboys but he returned after missing nine games for the regular-season finale and then showed off his big-play potential in the wild card win against the Seahawks. After having an 80-yard touchdown on a punt return called back because of a holding call, Austin returned a punt 51 yards, his longest since he returned a punt 75 yards for a score in Sept. 2015. That was also against the Seahawks.

Getting the big return felt good, he said, especially having a touchdown erased.

“Oh, yeah, for sure, because we got the win,” he said. “I’m the flag man. That’s been happening to me since I’ve been in the league. At the end of the day, it felt good. To go out there and do that, to still let myself know, after battling through all my injuries the last two years. I showed myself, ‘You’re still Big Tay.’”

And while he’d love to show up big against his old teammates, Austin said he’s mostly concerned about just getting the win.

“Every game is emotional. There’s not really a difference between games,” he said. “It’s just the fact that I played over there for so long. You always want to show out. That’s the point. Point blank, period. You always want to do your thing. We’ll see when we get over there. Hopefully I do, but if I don’t, hopefully we just get the win. That’s all I’m really worrying about.”



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Stefan Stevenson has been covering sports for the Star-Telegram since 1997. He spent five years covering TCU athletics, which included two BCS bowls, two trips to the college World Series and the move to the Big 12. He has covered the Texas Rangers since 2014 and started reporting on the Dallas Cowboys in 2016.
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