Austin with the Dallas Cowboys in 2019
|No. 86 – Buffalo Bills|
|Born:|| (1990-03-15) March 15, 1990 (age 32)|
|Height:||5 ft 8 in (1.73 m)|
|Weight:||185 lb (84 kg)|
|High school:||Dunbar (Baltimore, Maryland)|
|College:||West Virginia (2009–2012)|
|NFL Draft:||2013 / Round: 1 / Pick: 8|
|* Offseason and/or practice squad member only|
|Roster status:||Practice squad|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics as of Week 2, 2022|
|Player stats at NFL.com · PFR|
Tavon Wesley Austin (born March 15, 1990) is an American football wide receiver for the Buffalo Bills of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at West Virginia where he received All-American honors twice. He was drafted by the St. Louis Rams in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft.
In football, he played running back, leading Dunbar High to three consecutive Class 1A state titles. As a senior, he had 2,660 yards rushing on 218 carries with 34 touchdowns, while also returning 12 punts for 446 yards and two scores.
He was a Two-time Maryland Consensus Offensive Player of the Year and Consensus first team All-state. He set state records for career points (790), touchdowns (123), total offensive yards (9,258) and rushing yards (7,962). In track & field, Austin competed as a sprinter and jumper. He ran a career-best time of 11.47 seconds in the 100 meters at the 2009 1A North Region Meet. He was also a member of the Dunbar 400m relay squad.
Austin accepted a football scholarship from West Virginia University, where he played for the West Virginia Mountaineers football team from 2009 to 2012. His primary position was changed to wide receiver as a freshman in 2009, but he still occasionally was used as a running back. During his freshman season, he had 15 receptions for 151 yards with a touchdown and also rushed for 47 yards on six carries with a touchdown and scored a touchdown on a kick return.
As a sophomore in 2010, he had 58 receptions for 787 yards and a team leading eight touchdowns. He also had 15 rushing attempts for 159 yards and a touchdown.
As a junior in 2011, Austin had 100 receptions for 1,180 yards and eight touchdowns. He added 189 rushing yards on 18 carries and another touchdown. He also returned two kicks for touchdowns. He was named a first team All-American by CBS Sports. During the Mountaineers 70–33 win in the 2012 Orange Bowl, he set an Orange Bowl record with four touchdown receptions.
As a senior in 2012, he finished with 114 receptions for 1,289 receiving yards and 12 receiving touchdowns to go along with 643 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns. In addition, he had 32 kick returns for 813 net return yards and a kick return touchdown and 15 punt returns for 165 net return yards and a punt return touchdown. He was the 2012 All-Purpose Performer of the Year as announced by the College Football Performance Awards association.
|Season||Team||GP||Receiving||Rushing||Punt returning||Kick returning|
|Height||Weight||Arm length||Hand span||40-yard dash||10-yard split||20-yard split||20-yard shuttle||Vertical jump||Broad jump||Bench press||Wonderlic|
|5 ft 8+1⁄2 in |
|174 lb |
|30 in |
|9+1⁄8 in |
|4.34 s||1.55 s||2.56 s||4.01 s||32 in |
|10 ft 0 in |
|All values from NFL Combine|
St. Louis / Los Angeles Rams
Austin was selected by the St. Louis Rams in the first round (8th overall) of the 2013 NFL Draft. The Rams traded up from pick 16 with the Buffalo Bills in order to select Austin. The Rams also selected former West Virginia wide receiver Stedman Bailey later in the third round of the draft with the 92nd overall pick, reuniting the teammates in the National Football League (NFL).
On June 13, 2013, Austin signed a four-year, $12.751 million rookie contract. The deal included a $7.653 million signing bonus. During his first year in the NFL, Austin played 13 games with 151 rushing yards (on nine carries), 418 receiving yards, and 678 return yards on 51 combined return opportunities during kick and punt returns.
In Week 10, against the Indianapolis Colts, Austin had a breakout performance that ended up being the best of his rookie campaign. In a 38–8 rout, Austin only had two receptions, but they totaled 138 receiving yards and were both touchdowns. He also ran the ball once for four yards. Austin also returned five kicks and punts for a total of 172 yards, including a 98-yard punt return touchdown. Austin was named NFC Special Teams Player of the Week, and eventually became the NFC's Special Teams Player of the Month as well.
Austin's receiving yards in the 2014 season dropped down to 242 yards from his 418 yards in 2013. Austin continued to excel as a returner as he was named a Pro Bowl alternate as a returner behind Devin Hester and Darren Sproles. His 391 punt return yards ranked 3rd in the NFL in 2014—only behind DeAnthony Thomas of the Kansas City Chiefs and Sproles.
Similarly to his 98-yard punt return during his rookie season, Austin was part of another huge special teams play during the 2014 season as well. During the second quarter of a Week 7 game against the division rival Seattle Seahawks, a game in which the Rams were already up 14–3, Austin was the designated punt return man on a play. He acted as if he was calling for a fair catch, but the ball had actually been punted to the opposite side of the field, where teammate Stedman Bailey was preparing to return the punt. With the entire Seattle coverage team focused on Austin, Bailey was left with a wide-open field and returned the punt 90 yards for a touchdown. The Rams went on defeat their NFC West rivals 28–26.
Austin had arguably his best season in 2015. He posted career highs in receptions (52), receiving yards (473), and receiving touchdowns (five). Austin further proved to be a dynamic player on offense as he ran the ball 52 times for 434 yards and four touchdowns. After a Thursday Night Football game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Austin became the first player to score at least five receiving touchdowns, four rushing touchdowns, and a punt return touchdown in a single season since Gale Sayers did so for the Chicago Bears in 1965.
On May 12, 2016, the Los Angeles Rams picked up Austin's fifth-year option along with fellow Rams teammate and linebacker Alec Ogletree. On August 27, 2016, the Rams and Austin agreed to a four-year, $42 million contract extension. Austin finished a 4–12 season with 58 catches for 509 yards and three touchdowns, but on 107 targets (8.8 yards per catch, 4.8 yards per target).
Despite having his first year with over 500 receiving yards, Austin's rushing total of 159 yards and one touchdown on 28 rushes (5.7 yards per carry, at the time a career low for Austin) signaled a drop in his overall production from the previous season. He also failed to return a punt for a touchdown, something he had accomplished every year prior, and tied a career-high for fumbles with five.
Austin's production took a dramatic drop off in 2017, including numerous statistical career lows. Under new head coach Sean McVay the Rams reached the playoffs for the first time since 2004, but Austin's contributions to the team during the 16 games he played in were almost nonexistent. Austin was targeted mostly with short passes, or was phased out of the passing game altogether, failing to catch a pass in 10 games, and not being targeted for a pass in 6 of those. Austin predominantly became used as a runner on jet sweeps or during garbage time, and was also removed from his special teams duties after Week 5 due to fumbling issues, as well as his career low 4.4 average return per punt on 12 attempts.
Austin caught 13 passes for 47 yards and rushed a career high 59 runs, but the 270 rushing yards meant a new career low average of 4.6 yards per rush on the year. His 317 total yards from scrimmage was also a new career low. As in 2016, Austin tied his career high for fumbles with five, and set a new career high in lost fumbles, with four. His lone touchdown, from a 27-yard run, marked a low in scoring for Austin; 2017 was the second year of Austin's career without a receiving touchdown, as well as his second consecutive year without a returning score. Through five years as a Ram, Austin had only one game of at least 100 yards receiving, and only five games with at least 100 yards from scrimmage.
During the 2018 off-season, there were reports that the Rams would be interested in trading or releasing Austin. However on March 15, 2018, Austin agreed to a restructured contract that voided the final three years of his contract while paying him his $5 million in guarantees and an additional $3 million in incentives.
On April 28, 2018, Austin was traded to the Dallas Cowboys in exchange for a 2018 sixth-round draft pick (#192-Jamil Demby), to help replace Cole Beasley as the team's slot wide receiver. In Week 2 of the 2018 season, against the New York Giants, Austin recorded a 64-yard touchdown reception for his first with the Cowboys, and his first since 2017.
Austin suffered a groin injury in the sixth game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, forcing him to miss the last 9 contests of the season, which contributed to his third consecutive year with lower output in terms of yards from scrimmage. However in seven games played, Austin's effectiveness as a receiver increased with two receiving touchdowns, as well as the first year since his rookie season averaging at least 10 yards per reception, setting a new career high.
In limited touches as a rusher, Austin failed to score for the first time in his career, but had his highest average per carry since his rookie season. 2018 was the first year of Austin's career without a kickoff return, but his punt returning was slightly improved from the previous season, and for the first time in Austin's career, he did not have a single fumble.
He was able to return for the playoffs, where he caught two passes for five yards, and rushed once for a loss of three yards in 2 games. In the wild card playoff win against the Seattle Seahawks, he made a 51-yard punt return and had a 75-yard punt return called back because of a holding penalty.
On March 14, 2019, Austin re-signed with the Cowboys. In week 15 against his former team, the Los Angeles Rams, Austin caught 1 pass for a 59-yard touchdown during the 44–21 win. With the addition of Randall Cobb to be the team's slot wide receiver, although Austin was the number 4 wide receiver, he never had a clear role in the offense during the season. He appeared in 14 games and missed 2 contests with a concussion he suffered in the season opener. He collected 13 receptions for 177 yards, one receiving touchdown, 6 carries for 47 yards and one rushing touchdown.
San Francisco 49ers
Austin was signed by the San Francisco 49ers on August 15, 2020. He was placed on injured reserve on September 3, 2020. He was released from injured reserve with an injury settlement on October 27.
Green Bay Packers
On December 1, 2020, Austin signed with the Green Bay Packers, reuniting with head coach Matt LaFleur, who was his offensive coordinator with the Los Angeles Rams. He appeared in 4 games as a backup wide receiver and was declared inactive for one contest. He had 5 receptions for 20 yards.
NFL career statistics
- ^ Loveday, Mike (February 4, 2009). "Loveday: Hats off". ESPN. Retrieved March 12, 2018.
- ^ Kartje, Ryan (October 6, 2017). "In new Rams offense, has Tavon Austin finally found his ideal role?". Orange County Register. Retrieved March 12, 2018.
- ^ "1A North Region Meet – Track & Field Meet". Athletic.net.
- ^ [dead link]
- ^ "Tavon Austin College Stats". College Football at Sports-Reference.com. Retrieved March 12, 2018.
- ^ "Tavon Austin zooms to the top". January 3, 2012.
- ^ "Tavon Austin 2009 Game Log". College Football at Sports-Reference.com. Retrieved March 12, 2018.
- ^ "Tavon Austin 2010 Game Log". College Football at Sports-Reference.com. Retrieved March 12, 2018.
- ^ "Tavon Austin 2011 Game Log". College Football at Sports-Reference.com. Retrieved March 12, 2018.
- ^ "Tavon Austin earning All-America honors".
- ^ "West Virginia makes history in Orange Bowl rout of Clemson". USA Today. Retrieved October 5, 2018.
- ^ "Orange Bowl – West Virginia vs Clemson Box Score, January 4, 2012". College Football at Sports-Reference.com. Retrieved March 12, 2018.
- ^ "Tavon Austin 2012 Game Log". College Football at Sports-Reference.com. Retrieved March 12, 2018.
- ^ "Austin All-Purpose Performer of the Year - WVU Athletics". www.wvusports.com. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016.
- ^ "Tavon Austin College Stats - College Football at Sports-Reference.com". College Football at Sports-Reference.com.
- ^ "NFL Events: Combine Player Profiles – Tavon Austin". National Football League.
- ^ "2013 NFL Draft Listing". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved March 12, 2018.
- ^ "Tavon Austin 2013 Game Log". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved March 12, 2018.
- ^ "St. Louis Rams at Indianapolis Colts – November 10th, 2013". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved March 12, 2018.
- ^ "2013 NFL Week 10 Leaders & Scores". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved March 12, 2018.
- ^ "Tavon Austin earns NFC special teams player of the month nod". ProFootballTalk. November 27, 2013. Retrieved March 12, 2018.
- ^ "Tavon Austin 2014 Game Log". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved March 12, 2018.
- ^ Wagoner, Nick (December 24, 2014). "Janoris Jenkins, Tavon Austin are Pro Bowl alternates". ESPN.
- ^ "2017 NFL Player Returning Stats – National Football League". ESPN.
- ^ "Seattle Seahawks at St. Louis Rams – October 19th, 2014". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved March 12, 2018.
- ^ "Tavon Austin 2015 Game Log". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved March 12, 2018.
- ^ "Tavon Austin". ESPN.
- ^ "Rams beat Bucs in what may be their last game in St. Louis". Fox Sports. December 18, 2015.
- ^ "Tampa Bay Buccaneers at St. Louis Rams – December 17th, 2015". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved March 12, 2018.
- ^ Wagoner, Nick (May 2, 2016). "Rams pick up fifth-year options on Tavon Austin, Alec Ogletree". ESPN. Retrieved November 26, 2016.
- ^ Orr, Conor (August 27, 2016). "Tavon Austin signs 4-year, $42M extension with Rams". National Football League. Retrieved November 26, 2016.
- ^ "2016 Los Angeles Rams Statistics & Players". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved March 12, 2018.
- ^ "Tavon Austin 2016 Game Log". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved March 12, 2018.
- ^ "Todd Gurley leads Rams to win over Titans, division title". Espn.com. December 24, 2017.
- ^ "Sean McVay noncommittal on Tavon Austin as Rams' punt returner". USA Today. October 9, 2017. Retrieved October 5, 2018.
- ^ "Seattle Seahawks at Los Angeles Rams – October 8th, 2017". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved March 12, 2018.
- ^ "Tavon Austin 2017 Game Log". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved March 12, 2018.
- ^ Wesseling, Chris (March 1, 2018). "Los Angeles Rams will trade or release Tavon Austin". National Football League.
- ^ Gonzalez, Alden (March 16, 2018). "Tavon Austin reworks Rams deal, can be free agent at end of season". ESPN.
- ^ Teope, Herbie (April 28, 2018). "Rams trade Tavon Austin to Cowboys for sixth-rounder". National Football League.
- ^ "Prescott, Dallas D lead Cowboys to 20–13 win over Giants". Associated Press. Retrieved October 5, 2018.
- ^ "Wild Card – Seattle Seahawks at Dallas Cowboys – January 5th, 2019". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved March 7, 2019.
- ^ "Divisional Round – Dallas Cowboys at Los Angeles Rams – January 12th, 2019". Pro-Football-Reference.com. Retrieved March 7, 2019.
- ^ Phillips, Rob; Eatman, Nick (March 14, 2019). "Cowboys Agree To Terms With WR Tavon Austin". DallasCowboys.com.
- ^ "Cowboys render coin toss mix-up moot, throttle Rams 44–21". ESPN. December 15, 2019. Retrieved December 15, 2019.
- ^ "49ers Announce Roster Moves". 49ers.com. Retrieved August 15, 2020.
- ^ Maya, Adam (September 3, 2020). "49ers place WR Tavon Austin on injured reserve". National Football League. Retrieved September 4, 2020.
- ^ "49ers Announce Roster Moves". 49ers.com. October 27, 2020. Retrieved November 8, 2020.
- ^ "Packers sign WR Tavon Austin". Packers.com. December 1, 2020.
- ^ "Official: Jaguars sign WR Tavon Austin". Jaguars.com. August 6, 2021.
- ^ Lasting, Dante (June 3, 2022). "Bills sign wide receiver Tavon Austin". www.buffalobills.com. Retrieved June 6, 2022.
- ^ "Bills release two players". BuffaloBills.com. August 22, 2022.
- ^ "Bills sign 13 players to practice squad". BuffaloBills.com. August 31, 2022.
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