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Austin Ekeler sounds off about contract situation

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

The Los Angeles Chargers have given Austin Ekeler permission to seek a trade, and the star running back made some honest remarks about his situation this week.

During a Monday appearance on the “Green Light with Chris Long” podcast, Ekeler said he has no hard feelings toward the Chargers. He just feels he has outplayed his contract, which is why he is “relentlessly pursuing” an opportunity to secure a bigger deal.

“I’m so underpaid right now as far as my contract and what I contribute to the team, it’s like, I am relentlessly pursuing this. I want to get something long-term done. I want a team that wants me long term,” Ekeler said, as transcribed by NFL.com’s Kevin Patra. “I’m at the peak of my game, right? As long as I’m healthy, I’m gonna score you another 20 touchdowns. I’m gonna have, you know, another 1,600 all-purpose yards. I’m getting half my value of what I could be getting. I am relentlessly pursuing someone who wants me for the long term.”

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 indicated he is not considering a holdout.

“Why would you not at least try out the options? And worst-case scenario — it’s not even a worst-case, really — but, OK, go play on the last year of your deal in L.A., then become a free agent, Ekeler said.

Ekeler had more than 1,500 yards from scrimmage in each of the past two seasons. He scored a total of 18 touchdowns in 2022 after finding the end zone 20 times the year before.

The Chargers have had some salary cap issues and will likely need to sign quarterback Justin Herbert to a massive extension this offseason. General manager Tom Telesco recently shot down trade rumors surrounding another star player.

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