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It's no mystery why Cowboys' Austin is a Pro Bowler

IRVING, Texas - For an undrafted free agent such as the Cowboys' Miles Austin to make the Pro Bowl is the stuff of movies.

IRVING, Texas - For an undrafted free agent such as the Cowboys' Miles Austin to make the Pro Bowl is the stuff of movies.

Indeed, Austin was at the movies when he found out he made the Pro Bowl.

"I was watching Sherlock Holmes and I got a private call," Austin said. "I'm like, 'I can't pick this up.' I waited, I checked the messages and it was [Cowboys owner Jerry Jones'] secretary saying to give him a call back. So I kind of figured it out at that point."

The rest of the NFL has figured out that Austin can't be overlooked anymore. In his fourth season since being passed over in the draft, Austin's 1,230 receiving yards are the fifth-most in the league. His 11 touchdowns rank fourth in the league.

Austin was born in Summit, N.J. and played high school football, basketball and track. His javelin throw of 214 feet, 8 inches is the second-longest one in Bergen County history.

After a standout college career at Monmouth, Austin didn't get drafted, but another Jersey guy, then-Cowboys coach Bill Parcells, made sure he wound up in Dallas.

So, after confirming his Pro Bowl selection with Jones, Austin's next calls were to his family and friends back home.

"A lot of New Jersey people are happy about it," Austin said.

Austin showed flashes of Pro Bowl-caliber play last season, especially in a game against Green Bay when he had two catches for 115 yards and a touchdown.

His contributions were mostly on special teams until this season, when the release of Terrell Owens meant the Cowboys had an opening for a big-play receiver.

That opening was supposed to be filled by Roy Williams, whom the Cowboys traded for last season. However, with just 38 catches and numerous drops, Williams said yesterday he believes he's lost the confidence of quarterback Tony Romo and coordinator Jason Garrett.

Austin has given the Cowboys nothing but confidence since his first career start on Oct. 11 at Kansas City - an opportunity created by an injury to Williams.

Austin set a team record with 250 receiving yards that day. He had 10 catches and two touchdowns, including the game-winner in overtime.

That earned him a permanent spot in the starting lineup, bumping No. 2 receiver Patrick Crayton to third receiver. In the next game against Atlanta, Austin produced 171 yards and two touchdowns on six catches.

"Miles has been a beast ever since he got here," fellow receiver Sam Hurd said. "It's just his time."

Miles' numbers are comparable to what Owens did over three seasons in Dallas. Personality-wise, Austin is the anti-T.O. His only Hollywood aspirations are to keep watching movies.

He said he likes going to the movies by himself, just as he was when he received the Pro Bowl call. The road from undrafted free agent to the Pro Bowl is often a lonely one.

"I don't want to say I had to work harder than anyone else - I never like judging other people," Austin said. "It is a little bit more difficult only because you're starting a little bit lower on the depth chart if you're a free agent. Usually if you're a first-round guy, you're probably on people's radars already."