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Austin Ekeler joins GoJo and Golic to talk running backs, fantasy football

Mike Golic Jr. and Mike Golic Sr. welcomed the Chargers star ahead of the 2023 NFL season.

Chargers star running back Austin Ekeler joined the Golics on Tuesday’s edition of GoJo and Golic in advance of the 2023 NFL season.

Austin is entering his seventh season in the NFL and he said as he enters year seven he has been reminded of being a rookie and looking at guys who had been in the league for a while. He said that as you get older, everything slows down and he understands the game better, seeing it in a similar way as the coaches he works with. He also understands how to keep his body going, as well.

Mike Sr. asks when Austin, having not been part of a Power 5 college program, realized he could play in the NFL. Austin said it was tough because in his rookie year, he was sixth on the depth chart and did not move up at all. He said he was stressed because he wasn’t moving up, but he was being consistent and got some opportunities to show what he could do on special teams. He said it wasn’t until the last preseason game that he solidified his role by playing well on special teams and doing well with the opportunities he had.

He says he tells young players who ask for advice to dive into it like everything in their future depends on them making this team. You’re not going to get a lot of reps, he says, so you have to make sure that you know every play so that when you do get those reps you’re ready to deliver and build your reputation. He says the key is overstudying, talking to the coaches, and getting extra time so that you know what to expect when you get on the field. You need to try to slow the game down mentally for yourself. He said he tapped into his survival instincts. He said he tells players he hopes to light a fire under them because if he can’t, then maybe this career isn’t for them.

Mike Sr. asked Austin about whether he worries about getting worn down given how many touches he’s had over the past several years. Austin admits there are, noting that a lot of teams are looking to have two players to carry the load at a high level. The more hits you take the higher the odds you could get injured. He said that he and Joshua Kelly both feel comfortable making plays on the field and recognize that they need each other so that they can make it through the entire season. It’s nothing against him, Austin says, because as a competitor he wants to be on the field, but also he has to not be too buried in his ego and thinking he needs to take every single rep. He says he’s all about having multiple people playing at the position, and he actually thinks it helps when it comes time to talk contract negotiations.

Mike Jr. notes that Austin has gone to bat for a lot of running backs as they have fought to earn deals at fair value. He asks what his biggest takeaway was and how it has affected how he is approaching the upcoming season. Austin said one of his takeaways was that players don’t like when they’re restricted from reaching the open market based on artificial numbers which may or may not be their market value. He said the key for running backs is to continue to play, to continue to make an impact and that’s all they can do. And then when it comes time to negotiate a new CBA they have to look at things they can put on the table and whether any of those are something they want to fight for. He said at the end of the day, it’s going to take them playing full seasons and being able to play at a high level.

Austin points out that it hasn’t just happened to the running backs, it’s been to several other positions across the board as well. He said these things pop up here and there, and he thinks it’s a bigger issue of how the CBA is. He says it takes them as players recognizing the issue and putting it on the table while being willing to fight for it during CBA negotiations.

Toward the end of the discussion, the talk turned to fantasy football. Austin has a podcast with Yahoo! Sports and said that he has been trying to think of a way for the players to get their share from the growing industry, so he’s been trying to dive into the community. He wants his legacy to be more than just his play on the field, he wants it to include his impact off the field as well. However, he also made his case to be picked ahead of Christian McCaffrey, noting he’s been extremely consistent and that he’s a touchdown-scoring machine. He also notes that given how efficient he is with the ball in his hands and how many passes he hauls in, he’s hard to pass up in a PPR league. The sky’s the limit.

Don’t forget that DraftKings Network’s Hurry-Up House Party is underway and the Golics will be hosting a very special episode from the road for the NFL season opener, as GoJo and Golic: Kickoff in Kansas City will be broadcast live from Arrowhead Stadium from 4-7 p.m. ET on Thursday, September 7!


Hour 1: CFB Week 1 Recap — Duke Embarrasses Clemson, You Believe in Coach Prime and Colorado now?, Florida St exposes LSU, and updated Heisman odds

  • GoJo and Golic recap a historic Week 1 in College Football with (02:00) the Duke Blue Devils Football is the new Bullies in the ACC. (10:30) The guys take a closer look at Florida State after their convincing win over Top-ranked LSU and see who’s leading the ACC. (19:52) Deion Sanders shocked the college football as his Colorado Buffalo upset #17 TCU on the road. (24:20) Led by historic performances from Shedeur Sanders and Travis Hunter, who reset the Heisman trophy odds after Week 1, GoJo and Golic ask to enjoy overratcing to Coach Prime’s early success in the PAC-12. (30:10) Mike’d Up Mondays on a Tuesday—We hear Coach Deion Prime Sanders ask the media if they believe in his team yet, Coach Chip Kelly complaining about TV timeouts, and Travis Kelce slightly crosses the line asking Chris Jones to end his holdout with the Chiefs.

Hour 2: Austin Ekeler on RB Compensation, Fantasy Football & LAC OC Kellen Moore + Pro Football HoFer Walter Jones on his 96 Check Movement + Kyle Rudolph announces his retirement

HOUR DEUX! (00:15) Los Angeles Chargers Star running back Austin Ekeler joins GoJo and Golic! The “touchdown machine” starts by discussing his journey from undrafted to getting reps during his rookie season and what advice he gives to NFL Rookies who want to make the team regardless of their spot on the depth chart. (02:22) Austin shares with us how his preparation has changed going into his 7th season in the NFL and (06:35) if the big money deal Justin Herbert signed in July has gone to the QB’s head. GoJo and Golic ask Austin his thoughts on the issues surrounding the NFL’s running back compensation and where he sees the position in the future. (17:40) Austin ends his time with us discussing his fascination with Fantasy Football and why Fantasy Footballers should draft him on Christian McCaffrey.(23:30) After recapping their conversation with Austin Ekeler, GoJo, and Golic look back at college football and decide what feels the most sustainable from the Week 1 slate. (30:30) Proud Alum Jessie Coffield has to answer for her Boston College Eagles after they spend a big bag to get beat by NIU over the weekend before talking to the Golics about Heisman Odds. (35:45) Pro Football Hall of Famer and Seattle Seahawks Legend Walter Jones joins the show to talk about the initiative he started with the NFL called “96 Check” where every September 6th, to pay homage to his former teammate Cortez Kennedy, he calls for former players to call and check up on a former teammate. (38:08) Walter also speaks on his Seahawks this season and what he expects from QB Geno Smith. (41:30) This, That, and the Third: Messi and Inter Miami vs. LAFC brings out the stars, the emergency Doodie Delta landing, and friend of the show, Notre Dame and Minnesota Vikings Legend Kyle Rudolph announces his retirement from the NFL.


Watch GoJo and Golic every weekday on Samsung TV Plus and from 8 to 10 a.m. ET. The show will also be available via audio on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts. You can also follow Mike Golic Sr. on X at @golic and Mike Golic Jr. on X at @mikegolicjr.

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