Chargers minicamp: Melvin Gordon is ready to unleash

COSTA MESA, CA – Training camp is a little more than a month away. And yet, the obvious questions about the status of Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon‘s contract was front and center after the team’s first day of minicamp in Costa Mesa, California.

Standing in front of a group of local reporters, Gordon looks incredibly ripped and ready to take to take on the 2019 NFL season, taking questions from swapping out his No. 28 jersey to the No. 25 he wore in college, and about his offseason workouts. The hot-button topic of his contract didn’t make its way past the listed 6-foot-1, 215 pound running back.

But Gordon seemed excited to be back in the flow of things at the Chargers practice and training facility.

“It feels good, man, just to be with some of the guys and be around the locker room chatting it up,” Gordon said. “Those conversations are the best. It’s just being around them, I missed the boys. It’s good. I missed the running back group, hell I missed Coach [Anthony Lynn], too. It’s good getting back with everybody.”

Just because he’s been away doing his thing in the offseason, it doesn’t mean that Gordon was off somewhere on an island unto himself and completely removed from his teammates and what they were doing. He still stayed in touch with them, he said.

Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon produced nearly 200 yards in total offense from the line of scrimmage against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, Sept. 9, 2018. Photo credit: George Laase

“You have to. I try to do a good job with texting the offensive linemen and receivers, the tight ends. I really did a good job on texting the offense,” Gordon said. “I hit a couple of defensive guy up, too. I was checking in on [LB] Kyzir [White] here and there. You have to keep in touch. You can’t just be going M.I.A. and then get back here and think you can just walk in. You have to stay in touch with the guys because we are teammates and we all are close.”

In four years, Gordon has had a pretty productive career thus far with the Chargers, who swooped up and selected the former Wisconsin Badgers star with the No. 15 pick in the first round in the 2015 NFL Draft. During his four seasons in the league, Gordon has rushed for 3,628 yards and put the ball in the endzone 28 times. He’s also shown his versatility, catching 182 passes for an additional 1,577 yards and 10 touchdowns.

“I feel good. I’ve been grinding to get back right,” Gordon said in regards to his health. “I wanted to do what I can and do my best to help this team win. I kind of felt later in the year and in the playoffs that I wasn’t my best. It kind of sucked not being at my full potential and not giving it everything I have even though I did what I could. I’m good. I’ve been working on everything. I want to be an all-around back. I say it every year. Even the things that I feel I’m good at, I want to be great. Things I’m average at, I want to be great. That’s just who I am. I just want to keep working, keep grinding and just be the best running back out here.”

NFL Football Sunday
Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon III (28) entertains a host of Denver Broncos defenders during an AFC West division matchup at StubHub Center on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018. Photo by Steven Baffo/News4usonline

Rushing-wise, 2017 has been Gordon’s best season to date. Gordon rushed for a career-high 1,105 yards that season. He very well could have surpassed that mark had not been for a couple of injuries that kept him off the field for four games. His offseason workouts in Florida is something Gordon believes will help make him a better player, health-wise.

“I just have a plan,” said Gordon. “I felt before I got hurt that I was balling. I was doing my thing. When I find a plan that works for me, I just like to stick to it. It’s nothing against anyone here or what they do here. I feel [Head Strength and Conditioning Coach John Lott] gets our guys right. I definitely believe in [Lott’s] plan and what he has the guys doing in the plan out here. I just like my plan a little bit better and I kind of went with that.”

With Gordon entering his final year of his rookie deal, a bigger, better and much more determined Melvin Gordon could be unleashed on the rest of the NFL. That would not be a bad thing for a team with lofty postseason aspirations. So, finalizing a new deal  could lift some of the clouds from hovering over the Chargers season. A new contract would be great, Gordon said.

“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want a deal done,” Gordon said. ” That’s not going to stop me from coming out here and doing what I need to do. We’re going to see. I would like to go out there and have it done, but we’re talking right now and that’s where I’m going to leave it.”

Gordon admitted he’d prefer something would get done sooner than later.

“Heck yeah. I would love to have it done so that I don’t have to worry about that,” Gordon said. “I could just come into work and do what I need to do. I just don’t want any problems or anything like that. I don’t want to miss football. I don’t have time for any of that going back-and-forth. I would rather just get it done and out of the way. Like I said, we’ll revisit that when we do.”

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