September 19, 2014

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) Denver Broncos defensive tackle Marvin Austin said he'll play Sunday at Seattle in honor of his father, who died Friday.

Marvin Austin Sr., 49, had been hospitalized in Raleigh, North Carolina, since being ejected in a rollover auto accident Sunday evening in Selma.

Austin got the news while having dinner at a steakhouse in Denver following the Broncos' victory over Kansas City and flew to North Carolina. He spent several days there until returning to practice Thursday.

Austin told The Associated Press on Friday that he won't fly back until Monday. He said he wouldn't even consider skipping this weekend's game against the Seahawks.

''I got no reason not to play,'' Austin said. ''I've got to honor my dad. I have his name and your name is all you've got. I'm his junior and after this game from now I'll be wearing `Jr.' suffix on my back.

''It'll mean a lot to me and I know it would have meant a lot to him,'' Austin said. ''Now, his spirit is with me. He's going to help me get through those hard days where I don't want to get it done and don't want to do it. That's who I'm going to be talking to inside myself.''

Austin credited his comeback from offseason back surgery to his father's influence in his life.

''He was never going to lie to me. He was never going to sugar-coat nothing to me as bad as it might hurt my feelings,'' Austin said. ''As much as I didn't want to hear it, he told me the truth. That's the reason that I have this opportunity that I have now.''

A former second-round draft choice of the New York Giants, Austin is a fourth-year pro who signed a one-year deal in Denver last summer following back surgery and made the roster with an outstanding training camp. He has played 42 snaps on defense and special teams over the first two games.

Austin said that although he'll be playing with a heavy heart Sunday, he's focused on football.

''When I'm on the field, it's hard for me not to think about him,'' Austin said. ''I'm thinking about him and saying, `I'm going to (mess) this guy up. Because that's how my father would be: `(Mess) him up.' And you can quote that.''

Austin's father was a postal worker in North Carolina and Austin was his only child.

''Now I'm him. That's how I look at it,'' Austin said. ''And now I've got to do everything I can do to get my kid the proper opportunity, the proper education and keep him focused so he can be a good man when he grows up, too.''

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Follow AP Pro Football Writer Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton

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