INDIANAPOLIS – Jason Garrett seemed adamant that Jay Ratliff would return to the Cowboys in 2013. When the same question was asked about Miles Austin, the head coach seemed pretty sure.
Not as emphatic as Ratliff, whom he said would "absolutely" be back in 2013. With Austin, Garrett cited some business decisions that had to be made.
"We've had a lot of discussions about Miles," Garrett said Friday at the combine. "And it's a very comprehensive discussion."
But still, the tone of his answer suggested the Cowboys have no issues with Austin – as long as he can stay healthy.
Now that has been quite a chore for him the last two years. And despite the fact Austin played suited up every game in 2012, Garrett said his starting wide receiver was not healthy.
"We certainly feel great about Miles and the only issue we've had with Miles is simply health," Garrett said. "I was really proud of him last year because he wasn't healthy and he wasn't healthy the whole year. I saw a really good burst from him maybe about twice and he still caught 66 or so balls and was a productive player. (He) did it a little different than we've seen him but was productive. It's really important we get him healthy and get him going like he's capable of."
Austin did not finish either Redskins game, including the season finale when an ankle injury forced him to the sideline for most of the second half.
Still, Austin had a productive season with 66 catches for 943 yards and six touchdowns. Austin's injury against Washington prevented him from a 1,000-yard season, which would've given the Cowboys three 1,000-yard receivers to become the seventh trio to accomplish that feat in NFL history.
Austin missed six games in 2011 with two separate hamstring injuries and missed the entire preseason in 2012 with a hamstring issue, although the Cowboys were extremely cautious with him in training camp.
Austin is expected to count $8.302 against the salary cap this year. If the Cowboys waived him, they'd save about $3.59 million this year. They could save about $6.8 million if they cut him after June 1 or designated him a June 1 cut. NFL teams can only desingate two players per year for June 1 cuts.