Austin thankful for Pro Bowl trip

IRVING, Texas -- When Miles Austin got the word he was heading to the Pro Bowl he was at ESPN’s headquarters in Bristol, Conn., doing some promotional work for Papa John’s.

From the snow-covered Northeast, Austin was quickly on his way to Honolulu from New York via Los Angeles to fill in for injured Philadelphia wide receiver DeSean Jackson, who is slowed by a knee injury.

“Definitely a climate change,” Austin said.

Austin will join teammates Jason Witten, DeMarcus Ware, Jay Ratliff, Andre Gurode and Mat McBriar in Honolulu. But he will be a tired traveler when he finally gets to the island at 12:30 p.m. Hawaiian time on Friday.

Austin caught 69 passes for 1,041 yards and seven touchdowns in 2010 after signing a six-year, $54 million extension in September. Austin had five 100-yard games in 2010 but he also had seven games in which he caught only two passes.

“I don’t know what people are feeling from the season or what they’re not feeling at the end of the season but I’ve just got to keep working hard and getting better,” Austin said. “I’m excited because I didn’t think I’d be playing football this year. Of course, I wanted it to be playoff games, but at least I’ll get to put the pads on one more time and see a bunch of the guys.”

He had a breakout season in 2009 when he caught 81 passes for 1,320 yards and 11 touchdowns while seeing only full-time action in the final 12 games of the season. He is the first Cowboys wide receiver since Michael Irvin to play in consecutive Pro Bowls. Irvin played in five straight from 1991-95.

“It’s great anytime you can represent the NFC,” Austin said. “It shows from the fans, teammates, players, coaches kind of who they want to be there. I’ll never complain for showing up out there.”