Newly signed CB Alex Austin details special connections to Patriots originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
Injuries have hit the New England Patriots' secondary pretty hard this season, so it wasn't too surprising that they signed a cornerback to fill the open roster spot created by injured wide receiver Kendrick Bourne recently going on injured reserve with a torn ACL.
Cornerback Alex Austin -- a 2023 seventh-round draft pick by the Buffalo Bills -- was signed by the Patriots earlier this week. He was most recently a player on the Houston Texans practice squad. He appeared in three games for the Texans this season but didn't tally any stats. They released him on Wednesday.
Austin has a special connection to the Patriots. He has a close family friend, Willie McGinest, who won three Super Bowl titles with the Patriots as a linebacker from 1994 through 2005. Austin thinks of McGinest as an uncle.
"It's a surreal feeling knowing I had an uncle who played here in this same locker room, wore the same uniforms and won Super Bowls here, and had a lot of accolades," Austin told reporters Thursday. "It's a surreal feeling to be in the same locker room and try to win some big games here as well."
Austin added: "(McGinest) was a family friend I grew up with since I was a kid. He always looked out for me and taught me the ropes and how to be a pro at a young age."
Austin has another connection to the Patriots: He also grew up with Patriots cornerback Jack Jones in Long Beach, Calif.
Austin joins Jones, Jonathan Jones, J.C. Jackson, Myles Bryant and Shaun Wade on the Patriots' cornerback depth chart. Rookie cornerback Christian Gonzalez is likely out for the season with a shoulder injury.
It's possible Austin could debut Sunday when the Patriots host the Washington Commanders on Sunday afternoon at Gillette Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET.