by Alex Poletti
Photo by Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images
A few weeks after signing a two-year deal with the division rival Denver Broncos, former Chargers running back Melvin Gordon spoke out on the contract. In a phone interview with The Second String, he expressed his excitement for facing the Chargers twice and the opportunity to be replaced by a league-average halfback for the second straight year.
“I was with those guys for five years,” Gordon says of his former teammates. “Our bonds go beyond football. In the end, they went with Austin [Ekeler] instead of me, and that’s alright. I’ve made my peace with that decision. I’m ready for the next chapter of my career, where I can be replaced by another mediocre backup in Phillip Lindsay.”
At just 26, Gordon has already gone through the ups and downs of an NFL career. The Wisconsin product was once considered one of the sport’s promising running backs, making the Pro Bowl in 2016 and 2018. However, he held out over a contract dispute last season and was quickly forgotten as Chargers second stringer Austin Ekeler put up good numbers in his place.
“It just goes to show that no one has true security in this league,” Gordon reflects on his experiences. “I learned a lot from that, and I think it has helped me grow as a player. When I go to Denver, I can’t wait to get shown up once again at the game’s most replaceable position.”
A stalwart of the NFL offense, running backs are among the most highly touted and popular players in all of football. However, with an increase in holdouts over the past few years, fans and owners alike have seen that second-tier running backs can produce similar numbers to stars for a fraction of the cost.
“Before Ekeler did it to me, [James] Conner did it to Le’Veon Bell,” Gordon explains. “Hell, if Zeke didn’t agree to come back to the Cowboys, I’m sure Tony Pollard would’ve done the same. But I’m looking to re-write the narrative. No one’s ever been replaced twice like this. This is my chance to etch my name into the history books.”
Backing Gordon up in Denver is the 25-year-old Lindsay, who got a Pro Bowl nod in his rookie season before putting up a second 1,000 yard campaign last year. Not quite sure why the Broncos were looking to upgrade, he’s ready for the challenge just the same.
“I’m up for the challenge,” Lindsay says. “If he decides to hold out or gets injured for a few weeks, I’ll be there to do exactly as well as him because we’re both reliant on the same offensive line. But taking the credit will be fun.”