Melvin Gordon's first year in Denver is off to a rocky start in the early stages of training camp.
"I'm struggling a little bit, I'm struggling up here a little bit with the altitude," Gordon said after Sunday's practice, via ESPN.com's Jeff Legwold. "What I keep hearing is when we play other places, we won't even get tired so I'm looking forward to that."
Gordon, 27, enters a toe-to-toe competition with Phillip Lindsay this month for the starting running back role. Lindsay secured that job last season and has eclipsed 1,000 yards two years in a row since becoming an undrafted darling out of the University of Colorado. It's fair to say Lindsay has an advantage playing in his home state.
With Gordon signing a two-year, $16 million deal with Denver this offseason, it's expected he and Lindsay will split time and have a certain role to themselves. The only question remaining is who trots onto the field first and who gets those red-zone opportunities.
"Right now it's tough, trying to finish downfield, and things like that," Gordon admitted. "It's real dry, I'm trying to drink water every second, lips are dry. That's the biggest adjustment, working all offseason and coming here and still feeling like you're not in shape because of the altitude."
The tribulations of Denver's altitude are no stranger to athletes across all sports, but at least Gordon has experience playing in the Mile High City after five years with the AFC West rival Chargers. In four games in Denver, Gordon has 306 yards on 71 carries, averaging a respectable 4.3 yards; however, he has failed to find the end zone on the ground. Gordon did manage to haul in one receiving TD in the thin air back in 2017, which was his best statistical season to date -- it's the only one in which he rushed for over 1,000 yards.
Going through an entire training camp at 5,280 feet is a different experience entirely, but the veteran back will have to adjust accordingly.
"I'm adjusting well with the guys," Gordon said. "The [altitude] is different, but everything else -- obviously it's a change, but you have to be able to adjust, so you just take it as it comes."