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#pounditThursday, June 13, 2024

Austin Ekeler says he felt ‘punched in the face’ by Chargers

Austin Ekeler catches a pass in warmups

Dec 2, 2018; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler (30) warms up before playing the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Austin Ekeler asked for and was granted permission from the Los Angeles Chargers to seek a trade, and the star running back says he did so after feeling disrespected.

Ekeler spoke about his contract situation during a Tuesday appearance on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio. He said he felt like he “got punched in the face” when he approached the Chargers about a contract extension and was turned away.

“I kind of got punched in the face when the Chargers basically said, ‘Hey, we don’t want to talk about extensions anymore.’ This is the organization that I continue to rise and hit new heights in and continue to add new value to, scored the most touchdowns from scrimmage the past two years,” Ekeler said. “This is the first time in my career with them that I felt kind of disrespected by my own organization. It sucks. I want to be a Charger.”

Ekeler is entering the final season of a four-year, $24.5 million extension he signed with the Chargers prior to the 2020 season. He is due $6.25 million in base salary in 2023. The 27-year-old has made it clear he will not hold out and said his “worst case” is returning to L.A. and playing out his deal.

After scoring 18 touchdowns last season and finding the end zone 20 times the year before, you can understand why Ekeler wants to cash in with a new deal. He also had more than 1,500 yards from scrimmage each season, so his value has never been higher. The Chargers are aware of that, and they have had some salary cap issues. They also need to sign quarterback Justin Herbert to an extension. All of that has factored into their reluctance to extend Ekeler.

There have been some trade rumors involving another Chargers star, but general manager Tom Telesco recently shot those down.

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