NO. 49


Lionhearted


Injuries couldn't stop Mike Augustyniak from realizing his NFL dream.


Mike Augustyniak was having a wonderful senior season at Leo High School in 1974 when he snapped an ankle in his sixth game. Though Augustyniak had already rushed for 1,030 yards and had a 100-yard dash time of 10.1, no college offered the 6-foot-1, 195-pound fullback a scholarship.

So he walked on at Purdue University and, in 1977, earned a scholarship after rushing for 76 yards on 16 carries in the annual spring game. Used primarily as a blocking back, Augustyniak rushed for 308 yards as a junior and 295 as a senior.

Despite his low numbers, Augustyniak always did well against Indiana University. As a junior, he rushed for 135 yards on 23 carries in a 20-7 Purdue victory in 1978, and for 76 yards on 20 carries in a 37-21 Purdue win in 1979. Before deciding on Purdue, Augustyniak had visited IU but had been turned away.

Augustyniak's professional career might have ended after he was cut by the New Orleans Saints in 1980, but he bulked up to 226 pounds and tried out for the New York Jets in 1981. He fought his way into the starting lineup and rushed for 339 yards that season. He came back with 178 yards in 1982, starting seven games. He also played in three playoff games that season, rushing for 28 yards.

The 1983 season with the Jets turned out to be his last. Augustyniak rushed only 18 times for 50 yards. He was moved to second-string fullback behind Dwayne Crutchfield.

Augustyniak suffered an injured leg during preseason 1984 and his career ended. He finished with 567 yards and seven touchdowns on 153 attempts. He also caught 52 passes for 404 yards and one touchdown.

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