I plan on signing up for standup comedy open mics sometime this summer. It’s always been a bucket list thing for me to try. I’m funny, or so they say, and it would be like writing jokes by sounding them out with my mouth.
Until I try standup, I’m always going to be someone who is going to try standup. And until I become someone who tries standup, I’m always going to be funny.
Speaking of people who are always going to be something until they show us for sure, Calvin Austin III, the Steelers' fourth-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, is always going to be a great offensive weapon. He has been telling us for a while now about his act, and we just know he's going to kill on stage.
The only problem with the diminutive receiver from Memphis is that he has yet to try and be a great weapon for Pittsburgh—at least not with live (or even preseason) bullets flying at him.
We heard so many great things about Austin at last year’s training camp and could not wait to see him do his thing in the preseason. We didn’t get to see Austin’s act in August, unfortunately. That was due to a Lisfranc injury that ultimately required surgery and kept the receiver on Injured Reserve for his entire rookie season.
You know what they say about absence, right? It makes the heart grow fonder. But what if you’ve never even shown up in the first place?
I mean, we saw pictures and maybe even some video of Austin during last year’s training camp sessions. We heard about his speed long before he arrived at Saint Vincent College—he ran a 4.32 in the 40 at the annual NFL Combine—and his impressive showing at camp only confirmed it.
But if you Google images of “Calvin Austin III 2022 training camp,” you mainly find pictures of him practicing in one of those oversized helmets that players wore at practice last summer. Thanks to his small stature, that big helmet made Austin look like The Great Gazoo, the weird alien character that popped up (quite literally) during the Jump The Shark seasons of the Flintstones television series from the 1960s. Fitting because Austin seems more like a myth than anything tangible at the moment.
The expectations for Austin have only grown during the 2023 offseason. Fans are expecting him to factor heavily into the offense and Matt Canada’s weekly game plan during the regular season.
What’s Pittsburgh’s receiver depth chart going to look like in 2023? No matter where you place whom, Austin is going to be on it, that’s for sure.
There are a lot of absolutes attached to Austin. That wouldn’t be so bad if he was a first, second or third-round pick coming off of a rookie year that was a non-starter due to an injury.
But a fourth-round pick?
I’m not saying Austin can’t rise up and meet those expectations. For his part, he’s determined to show everyone. He seems confident. He’s not afraid to battle. He’s not afraid of much bigger men, and at 5’9” and listed at 162-170 pounds (depending on what site you read), just about everyone in the NFL is bigger than Austin.
I hope Austin shows out again this training camp, and I am dying to see him do the same in the preseason.
We’ve heard so much about Austin up to this point, and it’s nice that everyone is saving a roster spot for him, but he still has to earn that spot.
Is Calvin Austin III a legend or a myth?
We’re about to find out once and for all.