When former Dunbar star Tavon Austin signs his rookie contract with the St. Louis Rams, the Baltimore native will suddenly become a rich man.

The former West Virginia wide receiver is slated for a deal worth roughly $12.668 million that includes a signing bonus of $7.65 million.

Before Austin even officially signs with his new NFL employer, he says he's already dealing with the stress of people from his hometown wanting a piece of his pending financial windfall.

“Just people,” Austin told the Rams' official website. "Everybody expects a lot of things from you as far as money. Everybody wants to be around you. My phone doesn’t stop ringing now. It feels like they’re counting my bank account now. So that’s probably the hardest thing for me right now, just people.

“I’ve got a lot of cousins now. The whole [city of] Baltimore is my cousin now. We’re going to just try to keep focused and let my mother and all of them handle it.”

Before the NFL draft when the Rams selected him eighth overall after trading up to the Buffalo Bills' spot, Austin expressed his appreciation of Baltimore.

"I’m from Baltimore," Austin told The Sun last month. "Baltimore is the place that made me the person I am today, as far as being street smart and humble and things of that nature. I love Baltimore."

However, Austin seemed to anticipate a flood of requests in his future.

"Not yet, but I know it's coming," he said.

Dunbar coach Lawrence Smith thought it was in Austin's best interest to relocate and not have any distractions that could have potentially happened if he had been drafted by his hometown Ravens.

“I think he needs to get out of the city," Smith told The Sun prior to the draft. "I just don’t think that kids pan out when they’re in their home city. I think he needs to go to another town. He’s going to produce wherever he goes. I’m a big Ravens fan, but I pray that he doesn’t  drop to the Ravens.”

awilson@baltsun.com

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