Former Jacksonville Jaguars defensive lineman Austen Lane tweeted that he'd retired from the NFL on Monday afternoon.
I would like to officially announce my retirement... pic.twitter.com/0XlVNWEytv— Austen Lane (@A_Train_92) August 3, 2015
Falling to the Jaguars at the top of the fifth round and carved out a short career in the NFL, playing in 28 games over his three-year career in Jacksonville.
Lane was kind enough to answer some of our questions upon his retirement from the NFL, what he remembers about Jacksonville, and life after football.
Big Cat Country: Why retire now? Why not earlier right after the season last year, or after training camp and preseason this year?
Austen Lane: It came down to a few factors. First, I didn't want to be away from my family. My son is five months old and it's crazy how many new things he picks up in just a week. I wanted to be around for that. Second, I wasn't hearing from any teams that wanted to bring me into training camp. The roster is set at 90 for each team so I knew if I didn't receive a call by August 1, it meant I wasn't high on anyone's list. Last, it was perfect timing to let me pursue other passions.
BCC: You wrote about being released by the Jaguars back in 2013. Now, more than two years later, do you still keep in contact with any of the players, trainers, coaches here in Jacksonville?
Lane: I'm still in contact with a bunch of people. I worked out with Tyson [Alualu], Ryan [Davis], and Abry [Jones] for the offseason. I see Poz around once in a while and also talked to Roy [Miller] about a month ago. I'm still close with the trainers Rod and Justin and also the head strength coach Mylo.
BCC: What's so different about Gus Bradley? When you mention him in your 2013 piece, it seems you hadn't met a coach with the same level of excitement and enthusiasm. Does that still hold true after playing with a few other teams?
Lane: My opinions of Coach Bradley haven't changed, he was the most passionate coach I ever played for.
A head coach's job is to bring a team together, make sure everyone is on the same page, and to have his team execute to the highest degree. Obviously, Gus brings all these things but what sets him apart is his energy and enthusiasm. It's contagious and that shows on tape with his players.
BCC: What was it about the Jaguars defensive scheme that played to your strengths? Why were you able to play in most games over the course of your three-year career in Jacksonville, but struggle to find playing time with teams afterwards?
Lane: The 4-3 defense. My first three years fit my body type and style. We were required to play head up on a tight end and set the edge in a 5-technique. My aggressiveness and power helped me succeed in that system. When Coach Bradley came in I was 270 pounds... too small to play a 3-4 DE and too big to play a LEO. So I didn't really have a spot.
When the Kansas City Chiefs claimed me off waivers they wanted me strictly at a 3-4 defensive end. So I bulked up to 280 pounds, but felt out of position.
Detroit was a great experience... I was about 265 pounds and played in a 4-3. The big difference in their 4-3 was the defensive ends have to play 9-tech's every time. It was fun because your technique never changed. "You played run on the way to sacking the QB." When the team started to get players healthy I was let go.
I had my best training camp with the Chicago Bears but didn't make the final cuts. I was brought back for the last game of the season. When I heard we were playing a 3-4 the next season I dropped down to 250 pounds so I could play outside linebacker. Unfortunately I was let go during OTA practices.
BCC: You mentioned wanting to pursue some other passions. What do you want to do now? Write? Broadcast? Coach?
Lane: I'm going to finish my degree in journalism and mass communications. I'd love to get into broadcasting or writing but only as a side gig right now. At this moment my passion is MMA. I've been boxing for the past four years, and practicing Maui Thai and Jujitsu for the past two years. It's something I never really shared or made public because I didn't want teams to find out that I was doing jujitsu tournaments or sparring full go in the gym.
When I was in college I wrote down three things that wanted to do with my life:
1. Play in the NFL.
2. Be a professional fighter.
3. Might be the hardest goal to obtain but I won't announce it until I pursue it.