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Chargers RB Austin Ekeler concerned the NFL using players like lab rats

Austin Ekeler, Chargers

Los Angeles Chargers running back Austin Ekeler had some strong words against the NFL, claiming the upcoming 2020 season a “trial period” with the professional athletes acting as “lab rats,” via TMZ Sports.

“The thing is, what I can be is just confident in myself and I know I’m going to try my best to isolate and not be around anybody,” Ekeler says.

“I’m just taking it day by day and I’m not gonna say that [the 2020 season] can’t happen, but I’m just saying that we need to protect ourselves first before we can continue moving forward.”

“I think that’s what this period is right now, it’s like, in my eyes, a trial period.”

“I felt like, somewhat like a lab rat to see if this will work or not.”

Ekeler, 25, entering his fourth NFL season—all with the Chargers, is among many players speaking out against perceived dangerous health and safety situation surrounding the professional football league’s forthcoming regular season.

While the former Western State rusher has not opted out of the season (unlike several high-profile players like New England Patriots Pro Bowl linebacker Dont’a Hightower and Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Marquise Goodwin), the threat of contracting the coronavirus is still present, particularly in states with rising cases.

The NFL and NFLPA negotiated the ability for players to “opt-out” of the 2020 season, and Ekeler is calling the coming campaign an issue to safety given the alleged low amount of information and guidelines.

Ekeler had his best season in his career with the Chargers in 2019, rushing for 557 yards and catching 92 passes for nearly 1,000 receiving yards, scoring a total of 11 touchdowns and taking over as the No. 1 running back in 2020 following Melvin Gordon’s departure.