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Austin inks deal with Texans

Posted: September 6, 2011 3:59 p.m.
Updated: September 7, 2011 5:00 a.m.

Two days after being waived by the New England Patriots, former Camden High and Clemson standout Thomas Austin was signed by the Houston Texans as part of their 53-man roster.

Austin, a 2005 CHS graduate and a member of the Bulldogs’ 2001 AAA state championship team, was among the final group of players cut from the Patriots on Saturday. On Sunday, reportedly, four teams --- Houston, Indianapolis, Cincinnati and St. Louis --- had claimed the 6-foot-4, 310-pount offensive guard off waivers. By that evening, he was on his way to Houston to sign a contract with the AFC South entry on Monday.

According to the NFL’s player personnel handbook, a team which claims a player via waivers is obligate to count him on its active list for at least two business days after the claim.

The ruling as it pertains to Austin’s situation states: "If a club claims and is thereafter assigned a player via waivers, the club is required to count the player on its Active List for at least two business days and is prohibited from trading such player unless he has been a member of the club’s active/inactive list for one preseason or regular season game or for seven calendar days, whichever occurs first."

Signed by Minnesota Vikings as a rookie free agent in 2010 after playing at Clemson for four seasons, Austin was waived by Minnesota on its last round of cuts last September before being placed on the Vikings’ practice squad the next day.

After having been waived by the Vikings, Austin was signed to the New England Patriots practice squad on Sept. 29, 2010. After the 2010 NFL season, he signed a futures contract with the Patriots and took part in 2011 training camp and appeared in all four pre-season contests before being waived. Reportedly, the Patriots hoped to re-sign Austin to their practice squad but he did last that long.

Having lost a pair of guards to injury, the Texans quickly scooped up Austin, who has the ability to play both guard slots as well as center.

Houston opens its 2011 season on Sunday, hosting Indianapolis in a 1 p.m. start at Reliant Stadium. According to the Texans’ official team Website, Austin has been assigned jersey number 61.

An All-state and Shrine Bowl performer as well as the Upstate Lineman of the Year as a senior at Camden High in 2004, Austin was also the AAA state heavyweight wrestling champion as a junior.

While at Clemson, he was a Sporting News third-team All-American in 2009. That same season, he was a second team All-ACC guard after having been a second team all-conference center in 2008. He finished his Tiger career having started in 38 consecutive games and 39 overall in four seasons.

Austin graduated from Clemson in August of 2009 with a degree in political science.

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