May 8, 2018 by
The first time twins Lance and Lawrence Austin played on the same football team they were 7 year olds. It was in Milledgeville. Lance doesn’t remember the team nickname. The next few years, though, it was the Eagles. Then teammates at Georgia Military College’s prep school for sixth grade, the Bulldogs. Then at Lamar County Middle School and Lamar County High School, the Trojans. Besides football, there was soccer, track and, for two years at Lamar County High, wrestling. “We were the same weight class , but one person had to go up a weight,” said Austin, who was the one who bumped up. Then, they were Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets for the past four years. From the time they were 7, every year, every team teammates. And now, finally, they have a most improbable opportunity – to remain together as Atlanta Falcons, the team they’ve cheered for since they were children. “It’s kind of crazy,” Lance said. Frankly, the chances are not great, but Lance and Lawrence Austin – defensive backs at Tech and the embodiment of fearlessness and competitiveness – will take it. That they’re doing it together for a team they grew up rooting for – a team whose season ticket base includes their father, Derick – is a bonus. Can’t really get away from each other,” Lawrence said. The Austins didn’t have any delusions about their chances going into the NFL Draft weekend, but were hopeful they would have a destination at the end of it. The Austins’ agent, Thomas Hunter, had heard from enough teams to believe that they would either get signed as undrafted free agents after the draft ended Saturday or be offered a tryout opportunity. They watched the final day of the draft together Saturday in their apartment with Tech A back Qua Searcy, their roommate, friend and longtime teammate dating to Lamar County. It was not what you’d call a draft party. Lawrence didn’t even remember what they ate – he thinks they might have gotten something on campus. “Nothing major,” Lawrence reported. “Just chilling on my couch.” Unlike many draft hopefuls, the Austins said they weren’t nervous during the process. “If it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen,” Lance said. “I just kind of went with the flow and waited for my time.” Lawrence said that there were other teams that wanted one or the other to come for a tryout. Another team besides the Falcons – he thought it might have been the Jets – also wanted both. Going somewhere together was not an objective, they said. “At this level, it’s a business,” Lawrence said. “It’s a dream, and it’s a blessing just to have this opportunity. It really didn’t matter that we went to different teams. It’s jut a blessing to get an opportunity.” Austin twins hope to get their shot in the NFL Ultimately, Hunter recommended the Falcons based on their consistent interest in the two. A Falcons assistant coach worked out the Austins and safety Corey Griffin at Tech’s Pro Day, and coach Dan Quinn was an active observer of the drills, and even had them perform two sets of Falcons specific drills. The Falcons also informed Hunter that Lance performed well at their area workout at Flowery Branch. “We can help each other out,” Lawrence said. “If I see that he’s doing something wrong, I’ll let him know.” Last year, the Falcons brought in 27 tryout players to their rookie minicamp and signed two. Both, though, were put on the team’s practice squad and one defensive tackle Taniela Tupou was promoted to the active squad and played in one game. Facing long odds is nothing new. At 5 foot 9 Lawrence and 5 10 Lance , they’ve heard they were too small for years. They were lightly recruited by power conference schools, but went on to start a combined 45 games, showing toughness, durability and a knack for big plays. The Falcons want to see Lawrence at safety and Lance at corner, according to Lawrence. “I think I have a pretty good chance Austin Hooper Jersey,” Lawrence said. “Just go in there and do what I need to do. I’m willing to do anything it takes – special teams, playing different positions in the secondary, whatever they need me to do.” It’s a hectic time. They have been finishing up final exams this week and will both graduate on Saturday with degrees in business administration. They’re continuing to work out in advance of the rookie minicamp, which begins May 11. “It’s a blessing,” Lance said. “I’m not greedy. All I need is a foot in the door to show them what I can do.”

March 21, 2018 by
Calif. Chad Pinder said he just took advantage of a couple of mistake pitches to help the Athletics score against a tough pitcher. Pinder homered twice to help Oakland end Cole Hamels five-game win streak with an 8-3 victory over the Texas Rangers on Saturday. The guy is 9-1, a tough costumer, A manager Bb Melvin said. To put two good swings on the ball was key for us and big for him, too.Article continues below ... Pinder is 4 for 4 with two doubles and two homers in five career at-bats against Hamels. Ive had some success against him, Pinder said. Ive just been able to take advantage of the mistakes he thrown me. I was able to get extended. Jed Lowrie drove in three runs for the A, who put back-to-back victories together for the first time since Aug. 5-6 at the Los Angeles Angels. The A have not won more than two in a row since a three-game streak July 29-31. Adrian Beltre drove in three runs for the Rangers, who lost their second straight after winning 11 of their previous 15 games. Texas has not lost more than two in a row since ending a four-game slide on Aug. 2. Sean Manaea won for the first time since July 16, ending a personal three-game slide. He gave up two runs and seven hits in five innings. Manea walked one and struck out three. Hamels left a game trailing for the first time all season . He was nicked for six runs and nine hits in 4 1 3 innings, matching his shortest outing of the year. He walked three and struck out two. Hamels has walked 10 over his past three games after issuing 10 in eight starts between July 1 and Aug. 11. Beltre doubled in two runs in the first and added a run-scoring groundout in the seventh. Pinder hit solo homers in the first and third and Matt Joyce singled home the go-ahead run in the fourth. Hamels gave up three hits, a sacrifice fly and walked one through the first five hitters of the fifth, ending his day. Lowrie two-run double in the sixth off Tony Barnette padded the A lead . SPEED ON THE BASES A infielder Matt Chapman, who was running on the pitch, scored from first base on a single from Joyce, a sharp grounder that ticked off Elvis Andrus glove into shallow center field. Chapman never broke stride and third base coach Steve Scarsone never hesitated in sending him. It not often you see a guy score from first on a hit like that, Melvin said. He was going with the pitch and you could see `Scars ready to send him. It was just a good, heads-up play. TRAINERS ROOM Rangers OF Carlos Gomez was activated from the disabled list before Saturday game. INF Phil Goselin was optioned to Round Rock to make room. The Rangers acquired RHP Paolo Espino from the Milwaukee Brewers for cash considerations and was assigned to Round Rock. RHP Tanner Scheppers was designated for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster. LHP Jake Diekman made his fourth rehab appearance Thursday night and retired all four batters he faced. He yet to allow a baserunner in 4 1 3 innings and has six strikeouts. Athletics Mark Canha made his seventh career start in center field, a necessity created when the A traded Rajai Davis. A manager Bob Melvin said he needed a right-hander against a left-handed pitcher . Melvin indicated Pinder, who started in right field, is another candidate for the position. UP NEXT Rangers RHP A.J. Griffin , who started his career in the Oakland organization, makes the start in Sunday series finale. Athletics RHP Jharel Cotton makes his sixth start since coming off the disabled on July 30. He 1-2 with a 6.91 ERA in the previous five starts.

June 22, 2017 by
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