Your best ability is availability in sports. While he may be extremely dynamic once the ball is in his hands, too often Tavon Austin is seen rehabbing or getting treatment, not an ideal situation for any franchise that’s dishing out millions for your services.
When the Dallas Cowboys acquired Austin last April, the thinking was he’d be another weapon with the potential to put up six points at any given time with his speed and athleticism, but in October those thoughts would be put on hold. He suffered a groin injury that forced him to miss nine games, thus making it very difficult for him to ever get any kind of timing with Dak Prescott. He only managed to put up 8 receptions for 140 yards and 2 touchdowns. This isn’t new territory for Tavon by any means, considering in 2017 he missed time with hamstring and wrist injuries, as well as suffering a mild concussion.
The Cowboys having a pretty deep roster of playmakers on offense is also something that’s working against Tavon. The addition of Amari Cooper changed life dramatically for Dallas in 2018, as they won seven of the final eight games after his arrival. This gave Dak Prescott the true number one receiver he’s longed for since his rookie campaign. Michael Gallup showed flashes not only in the regular season but in the playoffs as well that he’s ready to be the that stable second option. Randall Cobb is a seasoned veteran with eleven games of playoff experience under his belt, and seemingly ready to provide a steady presence in the slot with the departure of Cole Beasley. Tony Pollard being drafted in the 4th round might have been the biggest blow to Austin’s future in Dallas. Not only does Pollard possess the same skill set as Austin, but he does those things at an even higher level, and with no major injury history in his past, he could keep Tavon on the sidelines.
There is one glimmer of hope for Austin and that’s the possibility of being the team’s primary punt returner. Although rookie Tony Pollard tied an NCAA record with seven kick return touchdowns he didn’t fare so well returning punts. This could be because of a lack of opportunities considering he only had two in his entire college career for a total of eleven yards. Nonetheless, he didn’t prove that was a big part of his skill set during his days at Memphis. Austin, however, has shown in the past he can take one to the house at any given moment. He returned a punt 79 yards for what would’ve been a touchdown against the Seahawks in last years playoffs, but unfortunately, it was called back because of a penalty. This area may be his best chance to keep a spot on the roster.
So what’s the role for Tavon in 2019? Are there enough footballs to go around? Can his body hold up for an entire season? Just a few glaring questions that would suggest Austin’s time in Dallas could be short-lived, but there’s always a chance that’s not the case. Pressure can at times bust pipes, but it can also pour gasoline on that fire inside an athletes belly and turn back the clock, showing what gave them their reputation in the first place. With a crowded receiver room and an unlucky injury history, the odds are stacked against him, but Tavon still has a chance to turn what looks like his final days into a new beginning.