Austin Ekeler gives ludicrous (and hilarious) reason for leaving Chargers

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

It was clear before the 2023 season even started that it would be Austin Ekeler's last with the LA Chargers. Failed extension conversations led to a failed trade request which all but confirmed that the veteran running back would be leaving Los Angeles at season's end.

That happened as Ekeler signed a two-year contract with the Washington Commanders. Ekeler reunites with former head coach Anthony Lynn, who Dan Quinn hired to be the run game coordinator and RBs coach this offseason. This is a reunion that Ekeler seems over the moon about, so it truly does seem like he landed in a good place.

While Ekeler seemed to land in a good place, his departure still left an ugly taste in Chargers fans' mouths. Fans were mostly unhappy with how Ekeler handled the trade request last season, which was only made worse by the fact that he put together the worst season of his career.

As a result, Ekeler is an easy target of criticism for Chargers fans and he is not making it any easier on himself with his latest comments on why he left the team. During an appearance on the "Up and Adams" show, Ekeler provided a head-scratching reason for his departure from LA.

Austin Ekeler's explanation for leaving the Chargers is head-scratching (and hilarious)

So, according to Ekeler, he and the Chargers went their separate ways because the team wanted a running back who... runs the football? Did we get that right? If so, that might have been the easiest decision the Chargers have ever made.

To be fair to Ekeler, it takes a lot of self-awareness to realize that he is no longer in a position to carry the football a lot, especially after a decorated career thus far. Most running backs would assume they can still carry the load of being a bellcow back and Ekeler at least realizes that is no longer his reality.

But to say something like this coming off a season where you publicly said you were being paid half of your value is asinine. If Ekeler was really worth how much he wanted then he would be someone who could carry the ball 300 times in a season.

Plus, the chances of the Chargers having a running back with 300 carries in 2024 is extremely low. The team is certainly going to run the ball a lot more as a collective unit, but there will not be a single running back who averages the 17.6 carries per game it would take to get to 300 carries.

As it stands right now, the Chargers have a running back committee to share the workload. There is not one back who stands far above the rest, at least not enough to warrant 300 carries. Ekeler definitely could have been part of a running back room like that.

Chargers fans should be rooting for Ekeler to bounce back with the Commanders as it has absolutely no impact on the Bolts in 2024. But at the end of the day, the Chargers likely opted to move on because the team doesn't think he will be able to bounce back.