Packers reportedly adding wide receiver Tavon Austin

The veteran played for Matt LaFleur while he was on staff with the Rams. 

NFL Network reports that the Packers are signing veteran wide receiver and return man Tavon Austin

Austin, now 29, most recently spent time with the San Francisco 49ers. He was released from injured reserve on Oct. 27.

Previously, Austin played with the Rams and Cowboys.

Austin should immediately help the Packers return units, especially if Tyler Ervin remains sidelined. 

For his careers Austin has 215 career receptions for 2,006 yards and 15 touchdowns, 196 rushing attempts for 1,340 yards and 10 touchdowns, 185 punt returns 1,466 yards and three touchdowns, and 25 kickoff returns for 451 yards.
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Comments (44)

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Lphill's picture

November 30, 2020 at 04:09 pm

Just heard this in LaFluer's press conference , now why can't they find a big body for the D line. Update they did 6 '5 360 lbs !

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JerseyAl's picture

November 30, 2020 at 03:57 pm

They did. Anthony Rush 6'4, 360lbs.

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Lphill's picture

November 30, 2020 at 04:22 pm

Yes I just saw thanks

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Alberta_Packer's picture

November 30, 2020 at 04:09 pm

Anthony Rush? Name sounds promising - 360 does not.

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Minniman's picture

November 30, 2020 at 04:17 pm

If he can hold his point of attack, not be moved backwards and commit 1 O-lineman for the duration of a play then he becomes an enabler for Kenny Clark, Smiths and Gary to do something. Obvious statements, I know, but he has a simple job to do in order to be effective for the Packers this year.

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Coldworld's picture

November 30, 2020 at 04:45 pm

Why? We have been clamoring for a big man. He’s definitely that. Also has shown some promise. Question is, will Pettine actually pkay him? Pettine seems averse to using Winn despite results.

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jannes bjornson's picture

November 30, 2020 at 05:25 pm

Did Rush see the field for the Bears in any games this year?

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Thegravedigger's picture

November 30, 2020 at 09:45 pm

Two words. Howard green. Two more words. Super bowl. Was the howard green signing in 2010 the main reason they went to the super bowl? No. But he was a big lane clogger and he helped. If this dude could be howard green, k clark will feast.

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Alberta_Packer's picture

November 30, 2020 at 04:07 pm

Alright - this is more like it - someone who can make an immediate contribution to the game(s). Although I wish management would have done so sooner - with other positions.

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Lphill's picture

November 30, 2020 at 04:23 pm

Will be critical against the Titans.

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jannes bjornson's picture

November 30, 2020 at 05:23 pm

See if he can make it through one game w/out injury.

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TXCHEESE's picture

November 30, 2020 at 04:26 pm

Hoping that Tyler Ervin's return is imminent, but this at least gives MF a backup plan in the return game, and keeps the jet sweep motion alive. They did a good job with it last night using what they had, but outside of MVS, the others running that motion are not going to threaten the edge as much as Ervin (and hopefully Austin) can.

Glad to see some beef added to the DL.

Go Pack Go!

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Coldworld's picture

November 30, 2020 at 04:47 pm

Taylor theoretically could, but I’m concerned that this could indicate that Ervin may not be back to full health soon.

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Packers1985's picture

November 30, 2020 at 05:29 pm

My guess is that Tavon would be primarily used on the special team which would free up Ervin a bit so that he can purely used on the offense.

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Swisch's picture

November 30, 2020 at 05:41 pm

I'm a huge fan of the jet sweeps, which are not only exciting possibilities for big plays, but seem so important for keeping the defenses from crowding the middle.

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MITM's picture

November 30, 2020 at 05:00 pm

Important signing. When Tyler Ervin is hurt (as he often is) we havent had anyone who can step in and fill his spot in the offensive playbook. Same goes for the return game. It took long enough but we got someone

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Lare's picture

November 30, 2020 at 05:30 pm

Good thing the Packers didn't give up a bunch of draft & salary cap space to trade for Will Fuller of the Texans. The NFL just suspended him for 6 games due to PED use.

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Minniman's picture

November 30, 2020 at 08:39 pm

Yes, what a train wreck that turned out to be!

I read the press release statement - I’m surprised that Fuller didn’t double check with the Texans team doc before taking anything.

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Swisch's picture

November 30, 2020 at 06:00 pm

The way I remember Tavon Austin is as a gamebreaker with the Rams when they were in St. Louis.
What has happened to him in the meantime so that he is so readily available to the Packers at only age 29?

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marpag1's picture

December 01, 2020 at 01:38 am

The problem is that you seem to be remembering things that didn't actually happen. Austin has never been a game breaker. Maybe he had a few long gadget plays as a runner. As a receiver, his 9.4 yard average per catch is beyond atrocious for someone who is supposedly a "speed receiver." Bottom line is he has never really produced, He's a straight up bust as the 8th overall pick in the draft.

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

December 01, 2020 at 02:16 am

As the 8th pick, yeah, he's a bust. As a gadget player who might be able to help GB with his 4.34 speed, he's worth a look. He is just okay as a punt returner (career 7.9 PR average is okay), and his 18 yard kickoff return average is mediocre, maybe mediocre minus. He has some history of fumbling as well.

Austin's rushing average not surprisingly is really good at 6.8 yards. That happens when they are all jet sweeps and he gets the handoff on average twice per game. Of course, that's much better than Ervin, so perhaps he can do what Ervin was doing and do it better.

Austin's stats are much better than Ervin's stats. Ervin gets a handoff every other game he plays for GB, which is the same for his career, Ervin averages 5.2 per rush for GB and 4.8 for his career. Ervin's career 6.9 yards/reception is far inferior to Austin's 9.3 average. Ervin also has 6 fumbles, one every 28.33 career touches (Recs, rushes, PRs and KRs). Austin averages 1 fumble every 28.22 touches. About the same on a much larger sample (170 touches to 611).

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Swisch's picture

December 01, 2020 at 10:42 am

It may be true to say that Desmond Howard was a bust before he came to the Packers and became one of the great kick returners of all time, including an MVP in a Super Bowl.
Thing is, very few NFL returners are ever legitimate threats to take a kickoff or punt all the way to the house. For many, it could happen once or twice if things break right; but they're not really considered a consistent danger for a long return.
It seems that Tavon Austin has been one of those rare guys who has been scary good as a returner at times in his career -- often during his first few seasons, and then perhaps in flashes during the following few.
Though he's been mostly down in the recent past, we'll see if there's a surge of quickness and speed and elusiveness and desire still left within him.
It seems a longshot that he'll break a long return or two for the Packers this season, but it's still an exciting possibility worth an opportunity.
As Desmond showed a few times I think, a big return in the playoffs can go a long way in close games.

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marpag1's picture

December 01, 2020 at 01:16 pm

First, Austin was never a kick returner.... at all. In more than 7 years he only returned 25 kicks, and 18 of those were as a rookie. In his rookie year, those 18 returns averaged 22.1 yards, which ranked no higher than 20th in the league. He never scored a kick return TD. The longest kick return of his entire career was 35 yards. So as a kick returner, he's certainly not "scary good," or even "good."

What about punt returns? Well, I'll give him this: He scored 1 punt return TD in each of his first 3 years. Those three are his only return TDs. That's decent, but certainly not awesome.

You say you liked Austin in his first three years? In 2013 his average yards per punt return ranked 17 out of 23, in 2014 he ranked 5 out of 24, and in 2015 he was 18 out of 25. So on average, that's about 13th in the league over those three years. As you say, he's gotten worse since then.

He fumbles about once every four games, and loses half of them.

His career average yards per punt return (7.9) ties him with four other guys for 226th all time. For comparison, Randall Cobb has the same number of return TDs, averaged 9.3 yard per punt return and is tied for 133rd all time.

Do you really want to compare him to Desmond Howard??? Desmond is SIXTH ALL TIME in average yards per punt return (11.9), and tied for FOURTH ALL TIME in punt return touchdowns (8). Austin ain't no Desmond Howard. He's not even Randall Cobb.

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Swisch's picture

December 01, 2020 at 01:57 pm

You get a "like" from me, marpag1, for your convincing post -- which may be much more on target than mine.
Though Tavon Austin isn't anywhere close to Desmond Howard, it does seem true to say that Howard wasn't much before coming to the Packers.
The key similarity may be that both are breakaway artists, with that rare knack for the quick and long lightning bolt of a play that electrifies players and fans, and can change the course of a game.
From what I can tell, Austin had about four exciting years at the beginning of his career with the Rams that, while lacking in large seasonal totals, featured some significant plays of stellar gains as a kick returner and wide receiver.
Indeed, as a receiver, Austin may have been much more accomplished overall than was Howard.
Anyway, I am by no means an expert on either of their careers, and am glad to stand corrected.
What I will say is that it seems Austin has shown an explosiveness and elusiveness that is rare even in the NFL.
If there's a little lightning left in his bottle, it just may provide a couple of big moments for the Packers -- or then again, maybe he'll get cut in a week or two.
It would be a great comeback story it he pulls it off, however, and as fellow Packers fans we can at least agree in hoping that he is somehow recharged and ready to provide some flashes from the past.

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marpag1's picture

December 01, 2020 at 02:57 pm

Yeah, it's definitely fair to say that Howard wasn't much before coming to Green Bay. And that was true even as a punt returner. Washington almost never used him as a return man. If they had exposed him as a returner, it would have been the same as admitting that they never should have spent the 4th overall pick on him. You just don't take a top 5 pick and use him as a returner.

Ron Wolf, on the other hand, didn't have to worry about where Howard had been drafted. He immediately slotted him in as a full time return man, and Howards 1996 season was truly beyond epic. 58 punt returns for 875 yard - a 15.1 yard average. He took THREE punts to the house in the regular season, added a FOURTH punt return TD against San Fran in the playoffs, and then of course capped it off with that super bowl mvp performance. The 875 yards in one regular season is still an NFL record today. Honestly, if that's not the greatest season for a punt returner in the history of football, I can't imagine what is.

I also think its definitely fair to say that Austin offers more from scrimmage than Howard ever did. But that's like saying he's better than nothing. Tavon can probably fill the same role that Ervin had, but I don't really see him taking snaps from MVS or even ESB. Those guys are better pure receivers than Austin, IMO. I'd love to see Austin totally explode, I'm just not getting my hopes up.

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Swisch's picture

December 01, 2020 at 03:41 pm

Good stuff, marpag1.
When all is said and done, we may be pretty close in agreement on all of this.
I really appreciate all the good information you provided, as well as your personal insights -- and hope a good number of other fans read these comments as well.
At the least, this is good stuff to use again in future comments to appropriate articles.
After all, the search for the next great kick returner (or even one that is better than average) is always topical -- at least until we find that guy again to make the air crackle with scintillating runbacks.
All the best to you.

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Badacidtrip's picture

November 30, 2020 at 06:02 pm

My theory on the recent signings is that prior to the draft Gute made up his mind to end the Rodgers era and move forward, transitioning the Packers into a power running team. Now with the startling resurgence of Rodgers and success of the team this season he's scrambling to belatedly address our immediate needs. In short, he didn't calculate on Green Bay being a top NFC contender!

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Lphill's picture

November 30, 2020 at 06:09 pm

Exactly , well said Badacidtrip the front office didn't expect to be in contention this season or maybe they didn't want to so they could jettison Rodgers and replace him with Desean Kizer 2.0

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marpag1's picture

December 01, 2020 at 01:40 am

13-3 with an appearance in the NFC championship game, but they didn't think that they were "in contention."

Got it.

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fastmoving's picture

December 01, 2020 at 03:38 am

oh, another conspiracy discovert by the smarties here. They just win the super bowl to stick it to "them". Like always, whoever that is. Flatearth is striking back. Brain does not exsist and science is the enemy of the people. Fitting.......

At least people can (and looking even forward to it, what was unthinkable in the past couple of years) finally go to the WH again. after its cleaned 2 weeks of course.

But its not nice if you comparing Boyle with Kizer. You wont know, like everything else, but we got a pretty good prospect in the draft.

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egbertsouse's picture

December 01, 2020 at 07:49 am

No, we got Deshone Kizer 2.0 in the draft. My kid was a grad student at Utah St. and saw a lot of Jordan Love. Athletic with poor mechanics, accuracy problems and poor judgment. Who does that sound like to you?

Also, I think he is correct that Gutey is transitioning to power running. Why else do you spend high draft picks on fullbacks and h-backs?

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jannes bjornson's picture

December 01, 2020 at 11:41 am

To win the 3rd and short yardage plays, that's why.

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mnbadger's picture

November 30, 2020 at 06:23 pm

I disagree with the last 2 comments. The Packers were the clear favorite coming in to 2020 season. Nobody in the division was within 2 games. I think they knew they could win it with what they had. I still don't understand or agree with the draft though. GPG

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Badacidtrip's picture

November 30, 2020 at 07:00 pm

Really, Mnbadger? The Packers were the clear favorites? My understanding is that Minnesota got more preseason hype than we did. I don't think anyone believed the Packers would plummet too far but I do think there was a feeling the Packers had very good luck on many levels in 2019 and that they weren't as strong as their 13-3 record might indicate. Gute traded UP to draft Love and then added a pounder in Dillon with his next pick... in both cases passing on immediate needs, especially another weapon for Rodgers. I think that's a clear signal he was thinking long term, NOT 2020. Now, with Rodgers playing at MVP level, he may be regretting those draft picks. It appears he's finally accepting the (very pleasant) fact that Green Bay is a solid contender for the #1 seed. His recent signings are welcome but I fear it may be too little too late. The real question is how far can we go with a MVP level quarterback and a shaky defense?

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flackcatcher's picture

November 30, 2020 at 09:36 pm

Lazy media types reading teams PR instead of looking at their Cap numbers. Vikings were a total mess Cap wise and had to cut or trade core and key starters. As for the Lions and Bears, do I have to say anything? As I wrote below, Gute kept this roster intact and within Cap. Very impressive. I'll say it again. Complaining about the draft is lazy if you don't understand the context and the goals of the team. Love was a future pick just like Rodgers was a future pick. This is the way good football teams do business. And the signings are what a smart and good GM does within his Cap numbers to improve his team.

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fastmoving's picture

December 01, 2020 at 01:59 am

AR has more weapons that he can use.........easy to see.
KC just one the SB with the same kind of team.
Gutes 3 drafts are on the money. Just check the numbers......
there is no way he regreting his picks, they look better by the day.

too little too late in november/dezember?????

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4thand10's picture

December 02, 2020 at 10:21 am

Green Bay isn’t a private owned market team...so they rarely get the “hype” that other teams do. Gute did sign Funchess but it didn’t work out due to COVID. So I don’t think the case is very strong for Gute thinking they are not contenders. The Dillon signing ...I was happy with. He made a living running against stacked boxes.Both Jones and Williams contracts are coming due and I think they may only be able to keep 1. The colossal mistake I think was not drafting a DL/ nose. M. Adams hasn’t shown anything , KeKe really isn’t anything more than relief. A lot of this is put on Pettine. The first year when he was emphasizing middle pressure and had 3 legit DL in the middle with Clark, mo Wilkerson etc it passed the eye test. Maybe with Wynn and Rush rotating it will improve.

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Thegravedigger's picture

November 30, 2020 at 09:38 pm

I honestly truly believe they traded up to 26 to get brandon aiyuk. With minny at 25 just taking justin jefferson a few picks earlier, the pack must of thought 26 was the spot for aiyuk. Then they trade the pick to the damn niners. Now gbs on the clock and jefferson aiyuk lamb and juedy all off the board, they just said fuck it and went wit the top pick on there board. Honestly with lazard tonyan mvs and now eq playing good ball why reach for wr you deemed to be 2nd tier? Shenault pittman tee higgins and mims all had flaws. I personally loved pittman. But the real fuckup of a pick is starting to look like the aj dillon pick. Cus even if he does turn into a player, you couldve drafted a back in 2021. Rookie rbs are plug n play nowadays. So unless hes a probowl back you wasted a prime chance to get an ilb or kks replacement.

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flackcatcher's picture

November 30, 2020 at 09:19 pm

I agree with mnbadger. Keeping this roster intact was Gutes primary goal. Giving how badly the Packers' division rivals had managed their rosters it's clear Gute made the right decision. Complaining about the draft is a lazy out for those who are not looking at the Packers draft in context. Gute knew he was leaving the D line light. (In more ways than one) He thought the line like the other young players would make the jump in play this year. Roster building is always about choices and at some level, gambling. If he fails, Gute gets fired. In the big picture Gute has won, and won big in roster building. Will it be enough to win the Superbowl. Heck if I know, especially with Convid-19 this year. But with his last draft Gute has built a fine and solid foundation in a very short time. By any standard Gute is an elite GM. Green Bay is lucky to have him.

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Since'61's picture

November 30, 2020 at 11:01 pm

Tavon Austin could be the return guy that we have been looking for. He is also an experienced WR and he can run the jet sweep. This is the type of signing that helps a team reach the SB.

Gute doing his job of trying to bring in reinforcements for the stretch run and the playoffs. Hopefully it works out.
Thanks, Since ‘61

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Gman1976's picture

November 30, 2020 at 11:08 pm

Is the Darrius Shepherd experiment over?

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marpag1's picture

December 01, 2020 at 01:55 am

I thought it was over - and it probably should have been over - on October 14, 2019 when Shepherd looked like a complete deer in the headlights as he fumbled away both the ball and his self-confidence against the Lions. He may be a very nice young man, I don't know, but I honestly thought that he might never play again after that game.

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egbertsouse's picture

December 01, 2020 at 07:50 am

We can only hope....

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stanlee's picture

December 03, 2020 at 12:08 pm

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