No surprise: Tavon Austin inactive

ST. LOUIS -- There was ample evidence all week that St. Louis Rams receiver Tavon Austin would be unavailable for Sunday's game against the New Orleans Saints. That evidence became a conclusion before Sunday's game as the team declared Austin officially inactive.

Austin suffered an ankle injury last week against Arizona and did not practice during the week. On Thursday and Friday, Austin observed practice with a walking boot on his left foot. The biggest clue of all came late Saturday afternoon when the Rams released defensive end Gerald Rivers and called up receiver/returner Justin Veltung from the practice squad.

Veltung spent the preseason and training camp as the primary backup returner to Austin. He's active against the Saints and likely to handle Austin's return duties in his absence.

At the NFL scouting combine in February, Austin said he had never missed a game or practice from high school through college. This is his first missed contest at the NFL level.