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#pounditTuesday, February 27, 2024

Chargers coach provides update on Austin Ekeler’s future

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 allowed Austin Ekeler to seek a trade, but there seems to be some optimism on both sides that the star running back will not be going anywhere prior to the start of the 2023 season.

Chargers coach Brandon Staley told NFL Network’s Steve Wyche on Sunday that the Chargers understand Ekeler’s contract complaints and are highly motivated to keep him going forward.

“We’ve been in full communication with his team,” Staley said, via Bobby Kownack of NFL.com. “I think there’s alignment and a way forward. We want him to be a Charger. I think that that’s something that (general manager) Tom (Telesco) has said. It’s something I’ve said. We want this guy to be a Charger. We’re also respectful of his position, and we’re gonna see where it goes. There’s gonna be time now between now and our first game, and we’ll see what happens. But I know the Chargers feel very strongly about Austin Ekeler. He’s just been fantastic for us.”

Ekeler has been a touchdown machine over the past two seasons, with 25 rushing scores in total since the start of 2021. His 2023 base salary is a modest $6.25 million, which is at the heart of his complaint. Even so, he has made clear that he has no hard feelings toward the Chargers and will not hold out.

The Chargers have a contract negotiation coming up with quarterback Justin Herbert. Reworking Ekeler’s deal will be a challenge, but both sides are saying the right things.

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