ENGLEWOOD, Colo. —** After losing the man who molded him, Marvin Austin Jr. honored his father as best he could with not only the effort he consistently brings on the field, but by adding that suffix to the 'Austin' on the back of his Broncos uniform.
When asked what the addition means to him, Austin said: "That's my father. That I'm proud to be his son. That's my actual name. So it's just another way that I can represent my father, another way I can make him proud. And it means something even more to me now that I've put it on my jersey."
After Austin Sr.'s passing on September 19 following a car accident, Austin said his father was a hugely formative figure in his life. The time since has been tough for him as he tries to avoid thinking too much about his father.
"I tried my best not to think about it, but sometimes they played, maybe played a song he liked or something like that and I'd think about it," he said. "But I tried to focus on playing and you know, not grieving."
The demanding pace of the football season has given Austin a bit of a beneficial distraction for him.
"Yeah it has definitely been a good way to keep my mind off my pops not physically being here," Austin said. "Also being around the guys just helps to keep me upbeat, helps to keep me in good spirits. So I'm thankful for being here with the team and all the guys, they've been a blessing for me."
The past month has been one of necessary unification for the defensive line amid difficult times off the football field. Malik Jackson also lost his father a couple weeks earlier, so the backing from their teammates has been key.
"Not even me and Malik specifically with our situation, but just in general, I think the group is very supportice and we want to help each other in whatever way we can."