LOS ANGELES — Little did a young Boston Scott know, when clutching his Hot Wheels on the escalator handrail at the local mall, that his early obsession with the tiny model cars would help lead him to an esports career.

“I would go and let the wheels spin and my imagination would do the rest,” the Eagles running back recalled.

Scott excels as a competitive player in Rocket League (a fast-paced game that combines elements of soccer, if it was played by cars) and had attained “Grand Champion” status in the video game, which places him in the top .52% of over 6 million competitive players globally. After scoring seven touchdowns for the Eagles this past season, he became the first NFL player to sign with a professional Rocket League team, Dignitas.

Scott credited the hours upon hours he spent competing with his brother, Tony, while growing up in Louisiana, for helping build his controller usage skills. His very first video game was Nintendo’s Super Mario Bros.

“It’s already hard enough to figure out how the car works, how to orient a car, how to fly through the air [in Rocket League], so I feel like having that controller in my hand since I was a young lad really helps out,” Scott said.

Scott’s childhood passion for cars continued, leading to his playing racing simulator games, especially the Forza series. But for a while, no other sport compared to his intensity for soccer.

“I fell in love with it,” Scott recalled of his middle-school days. “I was all in on it. I actually ended up very briefly quitting football to pursue a career in soccer.”

That’s the reason Scott was a four-letter athlete at Zachary (La.) High School in soccer, but only a three-letter athlete in football. Eventually, the costs of travel soccer put him off pursuing the sport exclusively, but his continued enthusiasm for the beautiful game led to Scott’s enjoying the FIFA video game series as a way to unwind after practices.

What Scott already enjoyed playing reached a synergy between his interests, skill set, and the game’s design when Rocket League debuted.

“My passion is soccer. My passion is cars. So Rocket League is kind of like the best of both worlds.”

He started to play the game in 2016. With so many players streaming their play on the online platform Twitch, Scott found more inspiration to improve.

“Seeing these clips of guys hitting crazy shots, off the ceiling, off the wall,” Scott said, “I started taking it a lot more seriously. And the rest is history.”

There’s a practical side to Scott’s multitasking into esports. Other pros who have taken on two traditional pro sports, such as Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders, who both played in the NFL and MLB, have had to contend with more physical wear and tear.

“I’m not putting myself at risk of getting injured,” Scott pointed out, but gaming still gives his competitive focus, concentration, and mental reaction under pressure a good workout. “Yes, it’s a video game, but you’re still teaching yourself skills, it still takes cognitive function, you’re still teaching your brain to learn new things that keep you sharp.

“The skills that you can practice in Rocket League, it is kind of similar to catching a football, to doing hand-eye coordination drills. That’s something I’ve fallen in love with, the process of getting better at my craft, in football. And so, with a game that’s as hard as Rocket League, the competitor in me is like, man, it’s so rewarding.”

When Scott started streaming his own games on Twitch, he gained a following that is still growing, with many impressed by his skills. After Scott attained “Grand Champion” status in Rocket League, the CEO of Dignitas, Michael Prindiville, contacted Scott’s agent. After some discussion, the offer to come on board as a content creator as well as the fourth member and playing alternate was extended and accepted.

“They know, number one for me is football,” said Scott. “And they were able to work around that and be flexible. They’ve shown so much love. And what they’re doing is truly special. The vision is big.”

Scott met and practiced with the team for multiple days at Dignitas’ training facility in Los Angeles earlier this month ahead of the Rocket League Championship Series winter major. It was during that time that he agreed to terms with the Eagles on a one-year, $1.75 million contract with the Eagles.

“He flew in here; the team came in from Europe. He’s been here with the team since then, for practice, for content shoots,” said Robin “Fifflaren” Johansson, a former pro esports player whose gaming career lasted nearly a decade. Now he’s a VP of esports for Dignitas. “We’re doing an episode of an online show with him. But primarily, he’s a substitute if anyone gets injured or sick. He’d be first up to play.”

Scott’s new esports teammates have witnessed his gaming skills but never his in-game skills for the Eagles in person yet. “It depends on the schedule for us and him,” Johansson said. “Our team is based in Europe. Hopefully, we’ll get to fly out and see him play.”

At 26, Scott is like a big brother to the three teenaged stars of Dignitas, Jack “ApparentlyJack” Benton, Joris “Joreuz” Robben, and Kyle “Scrub Killa” Robertson. He encouraged them when they were ousted from the competition Friday.

“The number one thing is knowing how to hold yourself accountable,” Scott said. “Don’t let the emotions associated with a bad performance leak into your next performance.

“I just tried to motivate them as best as I could. I mean, genuinely, I know for a fact that they are so incredibly talented. And they’re going to continue to grow and I’m excited to see how they respond to what happened.”

Said Prindiville in a statement: “Not only are Boston’s competitive achievements in Rocket League astounding but his natural charisma and infectious enthusiasm for gaming fits perfectly with the Dignitas brand.”

Scott also worked at his role as a crossover ambassador, posing and chatting with fans, participating in the online telecast of the winter major event, offering his insights on strategy, and commenting on the competition. It all took place at the YouTube Theater, a stone’s throw from SoFi stadium, where the Super Bowl was played in February.

As a player who is comfortable in both contexts, Scott views the lessons from both football and Rocket League as complementary.

“Everybody that’s competing in this tournament, if you watch them in free play on just a casual day, they will do things that will blow your mind. But the best teams are able to adjust, adapt, and resort to their fundamentals under pressure. And that applies to sports in general. That’s the way the best teams are.”