Aug 17, 2014; Santa Clara, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers tackle Jonathan Martin (71) defends against Denver Broncos defensive tackle Marvin Austin (76) in the inaugural football game at Levi
Denver Broncos defensive tackle Marvin Austin had a whale of an offseason after being given a one-year flier by the team, just a couple of years removed from being picked in the second round by the New York Giants.
Three teams and countless injury problems after his being drafted into the league, Austin wound up in Denver where he played his way onto the roster in a big way, but was absent for a bit from practices this week as the team prepares for the Seattle Seahawks. The reason for his absence was the tragic passing of his father, Marvin Austin Sr., who experienced fatal injuries in a car accident last Sunday night in North Carolina.
Austin, despite the tragedy, plans to play and honor his father against the Seahawks, per Jeff Legwold of ESPN.com, and every game he plays going forward.
“Now his spirit is with me,” Austin said. “He’s going to help me get through those hard days where I don’t want to get it done and don’t want to do it. That’s who I’m going to be talking to inside myself.”
“I got no reason not to play,” Austin said. “I’ve got to honor my dad. I have his name and your name is all you’ve got. I’m his junior and after this game from now I’ll be wearing ‘Jr.’ suffix on my back.
“When I’m on the field, it’s hard for me not to think about him. I’m thinking about him and saying, ‘I’m going to (mess) this guy up. Because that’s how my father would tell me, ‘(Mess) him up.’ And you can quote that.”
It’s not uncommon for NFL players like Austin to play after tragedies like this, using it as motivation and oftentimes playing with even more passion than they could have ever imagined. What Austin is going through right now emotionally has to be taxing, draining, and downright awful. Broncos Country needs to wrap around this guy and give him all the support he needs in this rough time, and you know his teammates are there for him as well as the coaches and staff.
Austin is a big, strong, tough, space-eating, playmaking defensive tackle, but news like this can bring even the biggest and baddest man down to his knees. For his ability to carry on and play Sunday, I give Austin a Mile High salute.
So often the name on the back of a player’s jersey represents to fans another guy on the roster. It’s important for us to remember that it means so much more to these guys than we could ever know.