Jay Ajayi is looking to return to the NFL stronger than ever in 2020. Until then, he's taking his talents to the video game industry. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the former Philadelphia Eagles running back has agreed to a deal with the Philadelphia Union to be the team's official esports player for MLS-sponsored tournaments of the EA Sports video game FIFA 20. Union chief marketing officer Doug Vosik said the team reached out to Ajayi first as they wanted a pro player to represent them in esports.
"This is by no means any more important than a MLS Cup, but from a business and marketing sense, this is a great fan engagement opportunity," Vosik said. "It's a great auxiliary extension of the league."
Ajayi has been a fan of soccer for all his life. He's a fan of the English club Arsenal when he lived in London until he was seven years old. As for video games, the Super Bowl champion would live-stream the games he played including the FIFA franchise.
"When I'm home, as part of my routine of decompressing and having some peace and time to myself, that includes a lot of FIFA," he said. "It's something that was a hobby for me, so an opportunity like this — create a hobby, have fun with it, possibly monetize it as well and invest down the road — all those things made it intriguing for me to try and join this club and take on this challenge."
Ajayi will take part in the team's first event on Friday at eMLS League One in Philadelphia. The Union are hoping Ajayi can win a title for them before he heads back to the NFL. He was a member of the Eagles the last two seasons and was cut by the team back in December. This past season, Ajayi played in just three games and registered 30 rushing yards on 10 carries. In 2018, he played in 184 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 45 carries. He tore his ACL in Week Five of the season.
In 2017, Ajayi was traded to the Eagles from the Miami Dolphins midway through the year and he was a big reason the team won the Super Bowl. In the big game, Ajayi rushed for 57 yards on nine carries.