By any metric, Chargers running back Austin Ekeler has made it.
Actually Ekeler made it when he made the team as an undrafted rookie from some place called Western State, but last week’s contract confirmed his status.
But he told Peter King of NBC’s Football Morning in America that he has no plans to let last week’s windfall change the way he plays or who he is as a person.
“One of the things that’s crazy about the NFL is when I got to camp, I’m sitting in a room with guys who make $10 million a year,” Ekeler said. “I see what everyone’s making, and I said, ‘Dang! That’s a lot of money!’ That’s why I’m laughing when Cameron [Weiss, his agent] tells me about the deal — it just didn’t seem real that I’d be making that money.
“You know how people say, ‘More money, more problems.’ I think money exemplifies your true character. It’s going to bring out the person I truly am. I live in the moment. The best chance you have to succeed is living in the moment—nothing matters except what you do to be better now. That’s who I am. That’s who I’ll continue to be.”
Ekeler said his response to Weiss when informed of the four-year, $24.5-million contract (with $15 million guaranteed) was astonishment, laughing and telling his agent: “Are you serious?”
The Chargers put out serious money for a guy who no one anticipated being such a contributor, or one of the first guys from this year’s free agent class to cash in.