Bill Austin turned misfortune into fame Sunday at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park.

The 48-year-old Cambria native works part-time as a security guard at Buffalo Bills home games and was on the field when Bills receiver Lee Evans caught his second touchdown pass from quarterback J.P. Losman in the Bills’ 14-3 win over Kansas City.

Austin heard and saw the cheers from the crowd he was charged with watching and knew the Bills had made it into the endzone behind him. That’s when his world came crashing down, literally.

“I knew they were coming down the field, but I didn’t know exactly where they were,” Austin said.

As Evans snared Losman’s touchdown strike, he and Chiefs defensive back Eric Warfield slid out of the back of the end zone and rolled up the legs of an unsuspecting Austin, causing him to crumple to the ground.

“I thought for sure it was broke,” the Niagara County Jail corrections officer and long-time Starpoint timekeeper said.

At that moment, Austin became a celebrity.

The hit has been replayed over and over on all the local television stations and Austin even received air time on ESPN.

Austin generated a bit of the celebrity aspect by refusing to let the injury bring him down.

As he was carted off the field, the driver swung him by the Bills’ bench where Losman and head coach Mike Mularkey came out and shook his hand and shared a few laughs. Losman had a few words for the security guard before he left the field.

“I told him, ‘You took one for the team buddy. I appreciate it,’ ” Losman said.

Then the driver suggested he give a thumbs-up to the crowd. Austin took it a step further and threw his arms up to a loud cheer from the sold-out crowd.

“It’s just such an exhilarating feeling to hear 60,000 people cheering for you,” Austin said.

Austin’s fiancee called him as he was being worked on by trainer Bud Carpenter. She was one of 20 people to ring his phone from the time he hit the ground until he reached the hospital.

Both Mularkey and Carpenter both called him Monday to check on him, Austin said. “He was nice, real nice,” he said of Mularkey.

“I thought that was just as classy of an act as they could do,” Austin said of the Bills’ support.

While the injury certainly isn’t a nice thing, Austin’s brother, David Austin, of Cambia, thought the whole thing was kind of neat. “To be on TV and everybody seeing you, and all the relatives seeing you, I think it’s pretty exciting,” Austin’s brother said.

As of Monday, Austin still didn’t have an official diagnosis, though doctors believe it to be more serious of an injury than the initial high ankle sprain that was diagnosed.

Apex Security has told Austin its insurance policy would cover his injuries and they said they would reimburse him for any sick time he had to spend at his day job at the jail.

Contact Mark Lindsay at (716) 439-9222, Ext. 6248. Reporter Pat Murray contributed to this report.

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