As an undrafted free agent pickup in 2006 by the Dallas Cowboys out of tiny Monmouth University in West Long Branch, NJ, wide receiver Miles Austin would emerge as one of the core young members of that 2006 Bill Parcells-coached team that would form the current core, along with Tony Romo, Jason Witten, Demarcus Ware and Jay Ratliff – “Parcell’s guys”, as they were called.
And while Austin would make the Pro Bowl twice in 2009 and 2010 and emerging as Tony Romo’s No. 1 target pre-Dez Bryant, he has been hit with injuries as of late. Hamstring injuries have limited Austin over the last two seasons, as he played in 10 games in 2011 and played through the ailment last season.
The Cowboys have to be careful that he isn’t a Terence Newman 2.0.
The current Cincinnati Bengals player was the Cowboys’ first-round draft choice in 2003 (the fifth pick overall) and with the above players, was a “Parcell’s guy” along with Marcus Spears, who is now also gone. Newman was a Pro Bowler in 2007 and 2009, but nagging groin injuries limited him in 2008 and 2011 (missed the entire 2011 preseason) and he was never the same post-injury.
The speed that he had earlier in his career that made him one of the game’s best cover cornerbacks dissipated, and he began to get routinely beat on deep routes by opposing receivers. It’s the main reason the Cowboys elected not to bring him back following the 2011 season.
With Austin, the Cowboys have to worry about his nagging hamstring injuries and the realization that his play may start to decline like Newman’s did.
Austin admitted to ESPNDallas.com this week that he has been working on strengthening his hamstrings every day, which is a good thing for him and the Cowboys. But, the offseason discussion on whether Austin should be back in Big D for his seventh NFL season didn’t just happen for no reason. His hamstrings have become that much of an issue.
It is probably the most likely reason why Terrance Williams was a mid-round pick by the Cowboys last month: as an insurance policy in the case that Austin goes down yet again.
Hopefully though, the Cowboys can use Williams without him having to be an insurance policy, and hopefully Austin doesn’t turn into another Newman.
That would be bad news for America’s Team.