Austin Ekeler is a fan favorite for his talent and charisma. Ekeler has a long history of interacting with fans and being close to the LA Chargers community. His most recent way of doing that is through his fantasy football weekly giveaway.
When the regular season was approaching, Ekeler encouraged fantasy football players to draft him in his team, promising to give away a signed jersey and a 10-minute Zoom talk every week to players that win their weekly fantasy matchups with him in their lineup, as long as they screenshotted it and tagged him on Instagram or Twitter.
Everything went on schedule for the first three weeks, with Ekeler giving away a jersey as promised. After the Chargers' Week 4 win vs the Las Vegas Raiders, the lucky winner was me.
A short 10-minute Zoom call proved to be an excellent opportunity for a short interview with the charismatic running back, who immediately accepted to answer a few questions. Up next is the interview with Austin Ekeler.
An interview with LA Chargers running back, Austin Ekeler
Faustino Felix: Who is a current player at the running back position that you admire? Someone who you watch on tape and try and learn from him.
Austin Ekeler: "Yeah, you know, it’s different when it comes to the running back spot, as far as when you’re trying to learn from people because, people are so unique. You’ve got people like Alvin Kamara, you have Derrick Henry, you have Dalvin Cook, you have Christian McCaffrey, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, we all have different strengths that make us who we are. So it’s really hard to take from what people are doing."
"I can’t be Derrick Henry, and I can’t be Alvin Kamara. I can be Austin."
"I think the best thing that I get from watching people make plays is how they are actually attacking with their skills, how they’re approaching their game to the defense. Are they being aggressive? Are they trying to make more moves? So it’s almost a read on the defense more so than it is about how this player is having success. Because I can’t be Derrick Henry, and I can’t be Alvin Kamara. I can be Austin."
"But here is the thing, I can see how other people are having success, whether it’s being aggressive, whether it’s making moves, on certain defenses, and then I can apply how I have been successful to a similar situation that might come up. I admire a lot of running backs. I just watch people make plays. I’ve been an offensive guy for so long that it’s engraved in me to want to have and see offenses do well at this point."
FF: How would you compare this LA Chargers team with the one from 2018 where you made the playoffs, and won a playoff game?
AE: "I would say it’s similar as far as the mindset, and the vibe in the locker room right now, where you feel really close together, feel like we’re on a roll, which always helps when you start winning. We have new coaches. I feel like we have a really good chemistry built right now which always helps as far as a work environment, just being willing to play for the guy next to you. And we’re being consistent. Obviously, our playing has been what it is, we’re winning games. They have not been easy games but what’s really similar from that 2018 season is just the camaraderie and how close we are together."
FF: Is there any story or meaning behind your jersey number #30?
AE: "My jersey is actually from my high school, I got my number back in high school. I didn’t know what number I wanted and I was talking to my offensive coordinator and he’s like 'Hey, Ekeler, just remember this: it’s not the number that makes the player, it’s the player that makes the number.' And I was like, 'Yeah, you know what, that’s true! That’s true!' And so I stuck it out with 30, and got the opportunity to wear it in the pros. So I was like: “let’s go back to the roots.” That’s where 30 comes from."
" It’s not the number that makes the player, it’s the player that makes the number."
After an electric start to the season where he's currently second in the league with seven total touchdowns, Ekeler is certainly making #30 a number to be feared.
Interviewing and talking with Austin Ekeler was a treat. Many people's heroes can disappoint when met in person, but this certainly isn't one of those cases. Ekeler is down-to-earth and easygoing, and it was a great pleasure to have a conversation with him. The LA Chargers still have 11 games left to play on the year, and that means 11 more jersey giveaways and Zoom calls with Ekeler.