At this point, it’s probably fair to say Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon’s contract holdout was a disaster.
Gordon ended the holdout without getting an extension, unlike fellow holdout Ezekiel Elliott. Meanwhile, backup running back Austin Ekeler has looked more than capable in place of Gordon, to the point that the Chargers seem more than ready to move on from the veteran when his contract is up after this season.
Perhaps most important, Gordon hasn’t looked very good since his return.
In three games of action, Gordon has posted only 81 rushing yards on 36 attempts, good for an average of 2.3 yards per attempt. His lone touchdown of the season came through the air, to go with 34 receiving yards. Ekeler has 736 yards from scrimmage and seven touchdowns in seven games.
Gordon’s pivotal season reached its nadir on Sunday against the Tennessee Titans when, given the chance to punch the ball in on the 1-yard line for a game-winning touchdown while down 23-20 with less than a minute left in the game, Gordon fumbled and lost the game for the Chargers.
After that debacle, Gordon seems to have become reflective about his big decision this past summer.
Melvin Gordon not going to hold out again
Speaking with the Los Angeles Times’ Helene Elliott, Gordon was asked what he would do differently with his holdout given a chance to turn back time. His answer was revealing:
“I know I won’t miss another training camp again, I can tell you that,” he said. “But if I was to go back, I can’t say. Just with the running back thing and all that, we want to get paid, you know. I don’t know. That’s tough.”
When evaluating Gordon’s performance this season, it’s hard not to blame his lack of effectiveness on the holdout. Missing all of training camp plus four games of action, it’s natural Gordon might be down a step after a career season last year. Unfortunately, with Gordon in a contract year, the downturn couldn’t have been timed worse.
Maybe Gordon hits his stride and will be fresher than the rest of the league’s runners down the stretch, but the Chargers’ season is already lost, sitting in last place in the AFC West with a record of 2-5. It’s likely Gordon will be playing for another team next season while the Chargers stick with Ekeler going forward.
Like Le’Veon Bell before him, Gordon will still face massive scrutiny as he enters free agency and is aware of it:
“Been in this situation before,” he added, referring to the scrutiny he endured after he was drafted No. 15 in 2015 but didn’t score a touchdown that season. “You kind of feel like the world is against you in a sense and everything is under a magnifying glass, under a microscope now, considering the situation leading up to me coming back. So it’s just like you do something bad, everything, it’s blew up now. You don’t play, you don’t win, it’s blew up. If I make a mistake, it’s blew up. So it is what it is. It’s part of the game. I understood that coming in.”
We’ll see how that works out for him.
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