NEW ORLEANS - DECEMBER 19: Miles Austin #19 of the Dallas Cowboys reacts after his 49-yard touchdown in the first quarter against the New Orleans Saints at the Louisiana Superdome on December 19, 2009 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
According to Miles Austin, his two-week absence from the team's voluntary off-season conditioning program had nothing to do with his ongoing contract negotiations.
Austin, speaking to ESPNDallas.com last night at the Mavericks-Spurs game, said that his now well-documented time in Los Angeles was spent preparing for the coming season independent of the team. However, he vowed that he'd have perfect attendance throughout the rest of the 14-week program.
"I'm going to continue to do the things that I've been doing and be the guy that I have been and show up, do what I have to do," Austin told ESPN Dallas. "I was out in L.A. working. To be honest, I was really working hard. I came back the lightest I've ever been, in shape already. I'm feeling really good and looking forward to the year."
To this end, Austin has some physical evidence. He returned to Valley Ranch on Wednesday nearly 10 pounds lighter than his 2009 playing weight. Austin argues that this program was the reason for his absence, which is contradictory of public sentiment over the past few days, a feeling that the receiver staying away from Dallas was a sort of message to the team.
"Not a power play, nothing like that at all," said Austin. "It just came down to when I was working out there, I was really buying into the workouts. Not only was I working out with a personal trainer, but I was running hills, running Runyan [Canyon], a lot of things.
"It was just a good thing out there. I was getting good work in, shedding weight, running fast. I just wanted to be ready when I came back here, and I'm ready now."
Of course, Austin's camp is still after that extension, a payday that is likely to be even more substantial following Brandon Marshall's deal earlier this week. However, as of now, it's out of Austin's hands, a fact of which he seems well aware.
"I would love it really, but that's stuff I can't control," Austin said. "I can just go out and be a player and play as hard as I can. That's what I love to do."
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