I decided to find out what I could about Austen Lane and ended up down a YouTube rabbit hole. He’s a fun guy with a fun story and he’s very, very easy to root for.
He wrote an exquisite column for Peter King at MMQB, detailing what it’s like to be cut by an NFL team. (You can read the entire piece by CLICKING HERE.) Here is a snippet of that column:
“Hey, Austen,’’ I hear.
It’s an unrecognizable voice. I can’t explain exactly why, but I feel a moment of panic rush over me. I turn around to see one of our scouts. I start to slowly walk as he waves me over. Before I get the chance to say hi, the scout quietly says, “Dave needs to see you.”
Dave. David Caldwell, the general manager. Oh my God.
Suddenly, a cocoon of panic and fear surrounds me. You think that’s a little dramatic? To you, maybe. But you have no idea how a football player feels when, out of the blue, a stranger who works for the team says the general manager wants to see you. It just isn’t good. In fact, it’s usually life-changing.
I turn back around to see two of my teammates, who have stopped in the doorway to stare at me. They stare as though I’m a ghost. “What the hell is happening?” one says.
You tell me.
I turn to the scout and reluctantly start following him. My breath starts to shorten and my chest feels like a microwave in a washing machine, the only relief being if my heart tears out of my chest and spills on to the floor. I mean, it’s hard to control my emotions. Very hard. I notice another player in the same predicament I’m in. That player became my shield to block out everything in my mind, because in that instance my focus shifted directly towards him. He was a rookie who I had a few conversations with. We crossed paths often. I tap him on the shoulder.
“Keep your head up,’’ I said. “You will be okay.”
He gives me a nod but doesn’t look me in the face. I don’t blame him. As football players we are taught at a very young age not to show pain or emotion.
And here are some videos to wet your Austen Lane whistle.