Austin Ekeler Placed on Reserve/COVID-19 List Ahead of Chargers vs. Texans

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIDecember 22, 2021

Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler (30) looks for a pass during an NFL football game between the Baltimore Ravens and the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021, in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Larry French)
AP Photo/Larry French

Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler went on the NFL's reserve/COVID-19 list on Wednesday, according to ESPN's Field Yates.

As a result, his status for Sunday's game against the Houston Texans is uncertain.

Ekeler, 26, has 1,347 total yards (789 rushing, 558 receiving) on 235 touches this year. The versatile pass-catching running back is in his fifth NFL season.

He went undrafted out of Western Colorado in 2017, but the Chargers took a chance on him. That has certainly paid off, as Ekeler has emerged as the team's No. 1 running back.

His best season occurred in 2019, when he had 1,550 total yards and 11 touchdowns. He notably caught 92 passes for 993 yards and eight scores.

In 2020, Ekeler emerged as the team's No. 1 running back after Melvin Gordon III left in free agency for the Denver Broncos. Unfortunately, Ekeler was limited to 10 games after suffering a hamstring tear and hyperextended knee on Oct. 4 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

He remained out until Nov. 29 against the Buffalo Bills and suited up for the final six games of the year.

Ekeler finished the 2020 campaign with 933 total yards and three scores.

His likely absence will mean that the Chargers will call on Justin Jackson and Joshua Kelley once again to carry the backfield load.

Jackson, 26, is in his fourth NFL season (all with the Chargers). Kelley, 24, is entering his second NFL campaign after the Bolts took him in the fourth round of the 2020 draft.