If you can’t tell, we like Austin Ekeler here at Bolt Beat. So, we reached out to see if he would be available for an interview. He was more than happy to give us a few minutes of his time.
I spoke with Austin by phone shortly after he was named to the Los Angeles Chargers’ 53-man roster. The humble, 5-foot-9 running back from the small town of Eaton, Colo. described experiencing a “sigh of relief” when told of the news he had made the team.
“I’ve been working for so long to get to the highest level, even going back to high school and trying to get to D1 and that didn’t happen, and then college and trying to get to the NFL and then boom, it happened, so it was just a sigh of relief,” Ekeler told me. “But at the same time, it’s just another reason to wake up and work just as hard every day to stay in it now.”
Undrafted out of tiny Western State University, Ekeler discussed his long road to the professional level, pointing out the little things such as football camps as a youth all the way to minicamps and OTAs after he arrived in Los Angeles that have helped him get to where he is now. He also mentioned his biggest supporter, his mother, and how she would send him to those camps, hoping to help put him on the map.
It certainly paid off.
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“I think it might have been a combination of just little things as far as special teams, coach (Anthony) Lynn is always emphasizing the importance of special teams,” Ekeler said when talking about how he was chosen for the final 53 over veteran names such as Andre Williams and Kenjon Barner.
The 22-year old gave simple but sound advice to those players looking to follow in his footsteps: “Ignore the statistics. If you’re good enough, you’ll make it”.
Ekeler will be on the field when the Chargers open the season on the road against the Denver Broncos on Monday Night Football. Playing just an hour away from where he grew up, he’ll likely have a loud contingent of fans in attendance in full support of him.
Whether it be returning kicks, making plays on special teams or coming into the game in relief of either Melvin Gordon or Branden Oliver, it seems by now we should know that he will make the most of any opportunity he is given. That’s what brought him this far.
If you’d like to listen to the interview in full, click below.