YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: In a league where nearly every wide receiver is a prima donna diva, Miles Austin has distinguished himself through sacrifice and selflessness with his team and dedication to charitable events back here at home — including the Austin Family Foundation’s upcoming annual golf outing.
Austin, whose family lived in Garfield for more than 17 years, says he “feels blessed to give back….”
“We started this foundation because youth programs provide that extra support that so many kids need,” Austin told CLIFFVIEW PILOT this afternoon.
“It feels amazing to give back to two organizations that I have a personal connection with. They’ve both made a difference in my life,” he added, “so this is the least I can do to show thanks.”
The outing is set for June 25 at the North Jersey Country Club in Wayne. It’s sponsored by the Austin Family Foundation, which the Dallas Cowboys’ wideout established last year as an umbrella for the extensive charity work he does – especially for youngsters who grow up in poor, dangerous environments.
The Austin Family Foundation, which support youth programming in low-income areas, offers a sponsorship, foursome, or dinner ticket for the outing — and seeks donations for a raffle and silent auction. INFO: www.austinfamilyfoundation.org
Austin Family Foundation, Inc.
P.O. Box 7104
North Arlington, NJ 07031
Before there was Victor Cruz, there was “Smiles” Austin, who was graduated from Garfield High School – where he was a basketball and track star before making all-county in football his senior year — and Division I-AA Monmouth University near the Jersey Shore.
The unnoticed, undrafted free agent went on to become a Pro Bowler (twice), while landing a six-year contract extension with the New York Giants’ NFC East rivals.
In a game full of Ochocincos, T.O.s and SuperFreaks, Austin is admired by teammates for the class and dignity he brings to the game, as well as the respect he shows for others.
They say he’s also exceeded at handling fame, which has included two Sports Illustrated covers, is always prepared and never forgets where he came from.
Owners Jerry Jones has also praised Austin for bringing a strong work ethic and positive attitude to everything he does.
Police from throughout North Jersey have told CLIFFVIEW PILOT stories of the good work Austin has done for area youngsters, often quietly and without fanfare, describing him as a top-tax-bracket megastar with a blue-collar attitude.
“I don’t have some strategic plan for any of this,” he once said. “I’m a happy guy …. I just work hard, take it all day by day and play this thing as it lies.”
Camp will begin shortly after the golf outing. Austin then returns to New Jersey for the Wednesday, Sept. 5 kickoff of the 2012 season, a rematch of the Week 17 game last season that put the eventual Super Bowl champion Giants into the playoffs.
New York turned its season around weeks earlier by beating the Cowboys in Dallas, overcoming a 12-point deficit with less than five minutes left in the game. So Austin will have plenty of incentive this time — not to mention plenty of thankful followers watching.