Chargers' Austin Ekeler Talks Goals for 2022, Fantasy Football, More in B/R AMA

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVAugust 16, 2022

AP Photo/Ashley Landis

Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler has proven to be one of the NFL's most dynamic offensive weapons, making a major impact in both the ground game and passing game.

He joined B/R for an AMA that touched on everything, including his love of fantasy football, advice for fantasy players this upcoming season, workout routine and one of his favorite memories of Philip Rivers.

So Ekeler's Edge Season 2 is set to premiere in a few weeks with some changes including an added podcast. Can you give the fans a glimpse of what to expect from the show in year 2?

It’s called Ekelers Edge. I just realized the community part of fantasy football and how big it is. I'm really drawn to communities. I have a lot of different communities I'm involved in, and fantasy football was one of them that was right in front of me I wanted to take advantage of.

Yahoo reached out to me after I started streaming on my own. This year, we're putting more effort behind it, diving into fantasy stuff, life in general. It's a twist around fantasy football and my personality and just a different outlook from a different player.

It's a twist around fantasy football and my own personality, and it's a different outlook coming from a player.

Did you get any crazy stories from fans last year about advice you gave them that helped impact the outcome of their league?

Probably the best advice last year was a week where I had a weird test for COVID. The next day, I went in there and tested again, and I was positive for COVID, so I went on my show and told everyone to pick up Justin Jackson.

This was before it was leaked or public or anything. I told everyone to go pick him up, and sure enough, he ended up scoring like 30 points against the Texans, so that's probably the most impact some of my advice has had last year.

@NotDrewLock Are you in any fantasy football leagues this year? And if so, with anyone notable?

I make time for it. If I'm going to be talking about it, I got to be about it. I'm in six leagues—four through my foundation, and then I'm also in another charity league. Then, I'm in one with my Twitch stream. I like to dabble just for fun, so for me, it's about hanging out with those who are interested and having a good time.

@SimonFry Are there any fantasy RBs you have your eye on outside of yourself?

Myself, for sure No. 1. There's a lot of great backs on the board for different reasons. Derrick Henry is going to be a workhorse. As long as us running backs are healthy, we're gonna score you points. I like to see guys who have a lot of diversity in their game with catching the ball and running the ball. It's just my philosophy, but you can't go wrong with guys like Henry, JT, or Chubb.

@Just_in_Time Seeing as how you’re pretty good at breaking down the game, do you think you could see a future as a broadcaster when your playing days are up?

I've thought about it. I kinda do that right now with my Twitch streams. I do 30-minute Twitch streams almost every night. It's just an open-source way to ask me questions. I've been having a lot of practice talking in front of people, but would there be a topic I'd be so passionate about that I would love to actually go in there and be about it?

It's not about the topic itself, it's the community that draws me. I think if I wanted to go into it, I would have to find a topic where I would be passionate enough to go in and do the work.

My organic passion lies within the community and not necessarily in the context of what the community likes. It works out for me with fantasy because I still play, but I don't need to love it because I can still make an impact on people, so it's kind of a different perspective.

@DaRealGoat3012 Was there anything special you did to train when you were younger that helped take you to the level you're out now?

There's no secret sauce or shortcuts. It's just consistency. I was consistently in the weight room four-to-five times a week. You need to have a plan to not overdo it. I just lived in the gym with my friends, and I was always in the weight room. It became one of my passions and who I am.

In the weight room, you have to start out at a lower weight and master the fundamentals, and it's the same thing with anything. It's gonna take practice, consistency and dedication.

I'd be working out before I'd drive 30 minutes out to my house. That's where I lived. I was always in the weight room, and it just became one of my passions. It just became who I am.

It's so fitting because the things I talk about, I talk about concepts that apply to different aspects of your life that will help you progress, and it's no different in the weight room. You have to start out at a smaller weight and be able to master the proper techniques before you can start moving up. It's the same thing with anything. You have to master the simple fundamentals before you can start building on.

It's going to take practice, consistency, dedication, so that's what I did without even realizing it. I wasn't thinking about this stuff until people started asking me. It's just who I was. I just loved going to the gym, and it started to have some compound interest over time and just made me this really solid and dense body of a human.

@Latoso23 Who comes up with these insane workouts of yours? Is that your own creativity or what? One-armed pull-ups while reading a book?

You keep pushing until you get to a point where you're like, 'I'm ready for the next thing.' You just continue to spice things up and take them to the next level. I did a one-armed pull-up, and I busted out like four of them. Then, I figured let's put something out on social media that people would like. I put the impressive one-armed pull-up with a prop in it too, so just a little creativity there.

@NSLachta4 How many pull-ups and push-ups can you do without stopping?

I really do not know. For whatever reason, my body likes to go strong in bursts—probably because I play football. I run into a wall really quick, so I really have no idea.

@BoltUp1997 After being an UDFA, what was the moment like when you found out you made the 53 man roster? Were there any strong emotions behind that?

When I found out I made the roster, absolutely strong emotions because it was so stressful going through training camp. I had put so much into it. I dropped out of my last semester of college just to go train. I put every ounce of energy into training and trying to make an impact on the team in any way I could.

What was also frustrating is I stayed sixth string on the depth chart. I didn't move up on the depth chart in the RBs spot. I didn't move up in the special teams spot. I stayed in the same place even though I felt like I was doing well. I was super stressed because nothing was happening. I couldn't read the situation.

After the fourth preseason game, I got asked if I had thought I made the team. I was like, 'I don't know if I made the team, but what I do know is you could have not got anything else from me. That was everything I could have possibly put into it. If it's not meant to be, it's not for me.' After finding out I made the team, it was basically a lift of knowing all of the work and patience paid off, but it was definitely stressful.

@RootB What was your 'Welcome to the NFL' moment?

I didn't really feel like I had one moment. I had already been going through so much that the whole process was basically that moment. It was a gradual build and pretty much stressful the whole time.

@Wiseguy0 Favorite Phillip Rivers story or memory?

Phillip is probably the reason I'm in the league to this day and had the success I had in the beginning because his play style really complemented the way I play…because he couldn't run. I was around him all the time. I was his checkdown. We became best buds.

It was my first year playing in the league. We're playing Jacksonville. Phillip starts scrambling over to me. If you know anything about Phillip Rivers, he's not the fastest guy. He's running over to me, and I think he looks like he's gonna run.

I turn to block the guy behind me instead of trying to get open, and I remember him throwing the ball over my head out of bounds and just ripping into me and yelling, 'Austin, I'm not gonna run the ball!'…And I thought to myself and was like, 'Ya, I probably should have known that. This man is not fast at all.' That was one of my Phillip Rivers realizations—know how your teammates are going to play.

@Rhettro The AFC West has some major attention this year after some crazy offseason moves. What do the Bolts need to do to come out on top of one of the league’s toughest divisions?

It's my philosophy, man—it's mastering the fundamentals, staying consistent and being able to do that throughout the entire season. There's also an injury factor that plays a part. If we stay healthy, then that will help us stay consistent.

That's all life is—progressing, mastering the fundamentals and staying consistent. That allows us to grow. That's going to allow us from being a good team that barely makes the playoffs to being a great team that can make a run in the playoffs. I have the same answer for that every single time because it never changes.

@EmanPz What are your personal goals for yourself this year?

My goal for me in the season is the same goal for everything in my entire life that I'm involved with, and that is growth. Taking what I have right now in the moment and expanding on that. My mindset is showing I'm so efficient, so dominant that I should be on the field for every single play. Not only that but also grow my role as a leader and make sure I can bring the rest of my guys with me. This year, I want to grow in my efficiency on the field and my leadership as well.

@DekeGeek Would you rather take on 10 horse-sized chickens or 100 chicken-sized horses?

I could take on horse-sized chickens. Only 10? We got that.

@PhilliesStan It’s an alien apocalypse. You have a drink of choice, a food of choice and 2 teammates you can bring with you. What are you going with?

We're all doomed already in an alien apocalypse if they even have the technology to teach us. I'm taking [running backs coach Derrick] Foster—that's my guy. I'll take Joey Bosa. We're both learning the guitar right now, so we can both enjoy our time right now as we're about to be blown off the earth, rocking some tunes.

@Cowboysfan109 What’s your opinion of In-N-Out Burger?

Terrible. I hate it.

@Judoyo13 Pineapple on pizza: yes or no?

For the most part no.

@JalenHolec If you had a chance to play with any NFL player of your choosing, past or present, who you going with?

I didn't start watching the NFL until my junior year of college, but I would say myself. I guess to just play with another version of myself and to be able to see me in that perspective would be interesting.

@Lil_Schmuck_ If it weren’t for football, what would you be doing right now?

I'd be doing the same thing I'm doing right now. Football does not define me. I am just trying to grow.


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